Dungeons and Dragons Update IV

I don’t know if this is Update III, IV, V, or VI. But IV is probably close to accurate, and so I’m arbitrarily making this one Update IV.



I’ve produced a lot of stuff for this game already. I have about 1/4 of a huge dungeon complex mapped, and two smaller dungeons mapped. In addition, I have a small regional map sketched, and a map of the town. I don’t have an LJ paid account, so I can’t post these images yet (I scanned them into my computer), but I may get one soon.

In the meantime, I’m kinda tired of my players’ bickering. They have a tendency to spend more time arguing with one another than their characters do fighting monsters. It’s a source of serious frustration. I’d really like to have a group that met for a couple of hours once or twice a week rather than a group that wants to play all the time. We played this morning after church, this afternoon after lunch, and they were eager again to play both before dinner and after study hall. Aieee.

That said, though, I’m starting to get into the idea of having a regular game. I talked to about some ideas, and he pointed out that I need to get to know my NPCs as people, so that I can have them react to situations naturally. I also need an outline of the game — where I want them to be, level-wise, by the end of this week, by the end of the winter term, by the time they graduate — and what parts of the world I need to develop.

I also need to be prepared for them to wander in a direction I don’t expect, and cock everything up.

What else? OK, maybe this is just me, but I’m no longer sure that super-dungeons work. This 4×3′ sheet of graph paper I’ve got is turning more into a sea anchor than a genuine battle ground. The same monsters keep popping up (my fault, given that I have Monster Manuals I, II, and III to work with, plus the Monsters of Rokugan and Monsters of Faerun supplements, but I keep using just MM I for my creatures…) The biggest problem with this dungeon, though, is that it’s not all mapped, and so the PCs can wander in so many directions into blank spaces that I don’t have anything clear planned for huge spaces on the map.

here be dragons, matey.

Edit — add:The other thing I’ve noticed about my super-dungeon is that it’s not very efficient. The PCs leveled up a lot sooner than I thought they would, which means that further work on developing the dungeon as a first-level fighting ground isn’t terribly useful. The PCs are already pretty much past that; some are on their way to third level. Rather than have these super-huge dungeons spread out on one level, I should have a number of smaller ones with different purposes/focuses — this mausoleum/graveyard stuffed with undead, this mine filled with kobolds, that one stuffed with goblins, these woods filled with bears, the deadly druid over here…. variation in encounters, not a regular slog through the Pit of Despair.

I’ll have to ask my players what they think/want, and see whether or not I can have them give up on the Maze of the Dark Wizard for a little while, and turn their attention to other parts of the region. If it takes me 40 minutes of prep time to develop 40 minutes of game time, I’d rather put my effort into something that I know they’ll eventually go to.

The resources pointed me towards are helping a lot. One of them is a medieval magical society manual, which has been extremely helpful so far (though I think I won’t bother with the construction system). The second is an “everyone else” book, that includes statistics blocks for something like a hundred characters with stuff to do in a typical village, town, city, fair or guild. The third is a book on fairs, tournaments and competitions in a fantasy world, which i haven’t looked at yet, but which I’m looking forward to having the time to check out.

Oh, and during random encounters today, the PCs encountered goblins, dwarfs and hill giants. Which means, of course, that I can/could/did put a goblin hold, a dwarf hold, and a hill giant hold, into my regional map (Images are available here). We’re making progress here, and the eventual result is going to be a world with a high density of possible incidents and adventures. I like that.

6 comments

  1. Everyone Else

    If it’s the same one I have, it’s a great resource! The Campaign Planner is another great resource for keeping everything organized, too.

    If you’re feeling overloaded with creating a world from scratch, you might consider checking out Necromancer Games’ Lost City of Barakus campaign setting. It includes a large city with sewers and secrets, and a massive dungeon to the north filled with monsters and quests, large and small. After my first go-round as DM last year flopped from trying to do everything myself, I came across this and decided to scrap my original campaign and use it instead. It’s modular so you can cherry-pick it for the stuff you like and skip the stuff you don’t.

  2. Everyone Else

    If it’s the same one I have, it’s a great resource! The Campaign Planner is another great resource for keeping everything organized, too.

    If you’re feeling overloaded with creating a world from scratch, you might consider checking out Necromancer Games’ Lost City of Barakus campaign setting. It includes a large city with sewers and secrets, and a massive dungeon to the north filled with monsters and quests, large and small. After my first go-round as DM last year flopped from trying to do everything myself, I came across this and decided to scrap my original campaign and use it instead. It’s modular so you can cherry-pick it for the stuff you like and skip the stuff you don’t.

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