Encounter Design/Pre-Made 3rd Party Encounters

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szabbran
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Re: Encounter Design/Pre-Made 3rd Party Encounters

Post by szabbran » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:14 pm

I've tried to replicate maps from published adventures a few times now (most recently with the 5e Death House module, which I posted photos of here viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10018&start=10#p149074.

My primary approach when building out a module with DF is something I usually do when running any pre-printed material: adapt it! I try to figure out which rooms/spaces/encounters are going to be interesting or meaningful to my players, or could be made interesting, and decide what to keep, change or drop from there. Then, with what's left, I see how close can I get with my collection of tiles. I try to identify key terrain features that may make for more interesting environmental encounters, and try to prioritize those if at all possible, since having some kind of visual helps keep it in players' minds that they can get creative with the environment (hopefully in ways I never expected).

I will say though that in general I'm almost always needing to reduce hallways/passages, and either shrink or expand the size of rooms to make them playable, while still staying as true as possible to the nature of the encounter (where sometimes wide open space or a tight chokepoint can be key).

And finally, I'd say don't be afraid to build only piecemeal. Rather than building out the full map, maybe you just want to build two or three rooms where key encounters will take place? They don't even need to be combats necessarily, but the rooms you build can still set a tone. You can handle exploration between these set pieces on a flip mat, theater of the mind, or whatever else you're comfortable with, and then pull out the big guns for maximum impact.

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dice4hire
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Re: Encounter Design/Pre-Made 3rd Party Encounters

Post by dice4hire » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:29 pm

I so rarely use standard adventures that it never really comes up. I do find trying to duplicate most maps perfectly is impossible, so I wildly fudge when needed. Printed maps and 3D terrain are just totally different beasts and things look better in different ways.
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John D
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Re: Encounter Design/Pre-Made 3rd Party Encounters

Post by John D » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:57 pm

I agree with everyone else, and to me the printed maps are (and always have been) rough guidelines. I'll play with the general idea and feel that a map has, but you know when your build looks right and when it doesn't.
I'll be using my DoD for Undermountain (probably most of next year), and tho I have the original maps, that's such a gigantic dungeon that we can just keep building cool layouts and move to the next level when we've had enough - just to make the most of everything DoD has to offer.
To me, D&D is about gaming freedom, not restrictions (tho nielsene's tactical observations are duly noted).

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Re: Encounter Design/Pre-Made 3rd Party Encounters

Post by nielsene » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:07 pm

The "difficult" part for me starting out was learning how to tell which parts of a published map were important. Was the room small because its what fit narratively/thematically/cartigraphically, or was it small because the encounter needed to be a tight space. For instance, some boss fights end up more constrained than the should be in order to give the heroes a chance -- negating the manueavability of flying creatures at levels where the PCs are not omni-flyers can be a major factor in encounter design) Other times you want the small space to make flanking/back-stabbing foes more capable, or more ability for guards to bottleneck something. other times it just doesn't matter.

Or does the map purposefully leave a void that suggests the party should be looking for a secret door, etc.

For as much as I love Paizo AP's, their maps of large scale dungeons/fortresses tend to be very bad. Filled with tons of nonsensible rooms/hallways/doorways that are horrible to convert to DF, however they're also horrible to play through as is, so re-working them is often needed in any case.

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Re: Encounter Design/Pre-Made 3rd Party Encounters

Post by kgallaghar » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:21 pm

joepacelli wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:13 am
Is there any software that allows you to enter the pieces you own and build a map from this.

I remember a tool existed for the Dungeon Tiles that Wizards of the Coast released allowing you to do this. So does a similar one exist for DF pieces?
The Tilesystem software is what I use. It seems that it is no longer supported. There are links still on this forum that lead to live links to download version 3.0.4 of it. A lot of the links on this forum are dead, but about 2 months ago I was able search this forum and use the links here to re-download it (my computer crashed this year and I had to re-download it, myself). I was able to find the photos part for the earlier resin sets (Fantasy, Cavern, Rivers & Lakes, Den of Evil, Medieval Tavern ) up through KS3 (later cavern set, City Builder set) . I've been able to create lessor quality but passable photos for the Gatehouse from the Castle Set (only piece I have from that set) and the Dungeons of Doom pieces I have. It works much like the map maker here, but runs offline from your local machine, is quite editable (number of pieces you have of each type, layering so that the small dressing pieces are above the floor pieces) and you can find the photos for the earlier sets and add your own pieces, and such. Also you can either print or save to JPG your final version. I highly recommend hunting it down here in the forum.

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Re: Encounter Design/Pre-Made 3rd Party Encounters

Post by marcoreds » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:42 am

Agree with Zenako.

Unless the details of the particular room are super-important (for example, there might be a puzzle based on it), 99% of the times it is completely irrelevant if the layout you create is exactly like the map in the 3rd party source.

In fact, if possible I nearly always try to make rooms bigger than they are on maps, since when you play with miniatures they require space, and maps usually are extremely tigh to play in if constructed as they are.

I try and keep the general structure, but don't care to be precise at all.

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Re: Encounter Design/Pre-Made 3rd Party Encounters

Post by zenako » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:31 am

I often base encounters off of some premade adventure or encounter, but will adapt the DF layout to fit the pieces being used. I treat any maps as rough guidelines and do not sweat trying to match things up exactly. Sometimes I just create a cool build and then document it with a map. (Did that with some burrows layouts, actually just took a handful of pictures of the layouts to recreate them from instead of drawing.)

joepacelli
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Encounter Design/Pre-Made 3rd Party Encounters

Post by joepacelli » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:13 am

So how does everyone plan out encounters using their Dwarven Forge? Because I can't just look at a pre-made adventure like Pathfinder's Curse of the Crimson Throne and just build a map in the book to match using DF pieces.

So what do you do?

Do you scrap the map in the book and build a new map using the DF pieces you have?

Is there any software that allows you to enter the pieces you own and build a map from this.

I remember a tool existed for the Dungeon Tiles that Wizards of the Coast released allowing you to do this. So does a similar one exist for DF pieces?

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