Friday, May 25, 2012

Mapping Progress, and Thanks

Three levels mapped, one more described fuzzily enough that I could probably wing it (not that I expect the PCs to make it that far in one session).  Time to stock.  This is, I think, the first time I've properly designed an abandoned dungeon; did all the mapping first with the perspective of the original occupants / constructors in mind, and the stocking of completely unrelated creatures comes after.

I'm...  fairly hopeful about this one.  I've been jayquaying to the best of my ability; there are at least two paths between each level, and generally more (challenge to players: find them all!).  I'm looking forward to seeing random encounter / time pressure on the players (in a kind of academic way), and tweaking the stocking tables (and then reusing them as wandering monster tables) is the next thing on my to-do list.  I've got traps and secret doors, but only in places where the occupants would reasonably have put them, and the traps are reasonably supportive of player agency.  I've got a how and why for the dungeon to exist in the setting, and it has links to other dungeons.  I've got a hook to kick the players into the dungeon in search of loot, and while I don't like restricting them to that course of action, I've come to terms with the necessity of a railroady first session premise even in what is ideally (and will hopefully become) a very free sandbox.  I have no idea what classes any of my players are playing yet; the setting and the adventure exist independently of the characters.  It's not tailored to anyone's backstory, or capabilities, or anything else.

In some sense, this is the culmination of the last year or so of reading OSR blog posts.  It's been that long since I last GM'd seriously; I ran Traveller in the spring of '11 (it was actually ending as I wrote my first post), and while I was beginning to use some old-school techniques (particularly small / simple stat blocks, randomness as inspiration, PC death happens, and sandboxing), there were also a lot of new-school things there (skills for everything, little focus on resource management or loot, little focus on player skill, research, or interrogative play).  I've played and seen the problems of high-level 3.x (again) since, and am quite looking forward to the speed and simplicity of both old-school and low-level play.

So, I guess thanks, gentlefolk of the OSR blogosphere, for the advice and for keeping the flame alive.  Also, this one's for you and your crazy stories of 1e in college, dad.

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