Thursday, August 15, 2013

Getting Lost

I've been playing the Dungeon Robber game based on the random dungeon generator map, and was doing pretty well before flash crashed, and I lost all the progress I'd made. I'm slowly getting it back, but due to some poor rolls it's not going well. For example, in my last game I stumbled upon a flawless diamond (2,000gp value) right as I entered the dungeon. I left (of course) sold it, went immediately from level 0 to level 2! I went back into the dungeon, and got knifed by a wandering kobold. But that's life (and death) as a Dungeon Robber.

One of the things I enjoy about the game is that my characters can get lost, and frequently do. It happens a lot when they're running from a monster or when they get sent via pits or elevator rooms to different levels. This doesn't happen nearly as often in my old school games. Players map. Maybe not to the exactitude that I do as a DM, but they do enough that it keeps them from really getting lost. I'm the same way when I play, and my maps as a player look much more like flowcharts than maps.

But what does it meant to be lost? Not knowing where you are? Not necessarily. If a shifting wall, or a one way door closes you off from the way back, you know where you are. You know the way back, and your relation to the dungeon exit. But none of that is really helpful. You know where you are, and where you want to go, but you don't know how to get there.

You're lost.

So what does that mean, as a DM. Why do you want to allow your players to get lost in your dungeon? For one thing, it encourages your players to keep moving, and forces them to be less cautious. They have to explore new areas, and can't retreat. They might be bruised, bloody, low on spells, and ready to head back to town with their loot... but they can't. It's a chance to see how inventive they'll be. Will they try to hole up in a closed off room, or at the far end of a dead end passage? Or will they press on deeper into the dungeon looking for another way out? Or will they try to circle back, and find their way back to the original exit? Or will they do something else?

So remember when designing your dungeons, give the players a chance to get lost.

There's a new poll up - What's your favorite type of dice? Only looking at the basic types this time. As ever, it's off to the right.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy that aspect myself, as a DM. But remember to keep their limits in mind, unless you enjoy TPKs -- I don't.

    Eventually, they'll have to rest -- somewhere -- or they'll never get out of the dungeon alive.