Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tips for Running a Good Dungeon Crawl

Some great tips for DMing an enjoyable game, shamelessly copied from here
I would also mention that these same tips apply to an above-ground campaign as well.  I think Pacing is one of the keys, and it is a live-action thing, the rest are more amenable to prior planning.
Here is what Dr. Warlock has to say on the matter:
What makes a Good Dungeon-Crawl Good? (or hopefully even Great). What makes a Dungeon an enthralling place to explore and adventure in - a suitable environment to "Fight the Good Fight" - rather than it being some boring repetitive exercise in monster bashing and door breaking . . . .

1- A Goal

The PC's need a reason to be there (outside of the obvious Treasure and Glory). A mission - often one of the three "R's" (Rescue, Retrieval, or Revenge).

2 - A "Hook" or Theme

Its important that the Creatures/Monsters have a common link - Whether it be they all work for a Villain, or come from the same (or related) families of Monsters.

3 - Style or "The Look"

When describing the environment, remain consistent. If its Medieval, keep the descriptions as such. If its Egyptian styled, don't start throwing in Renaissance Torture Chambers in - suspension of disbelief is really important during FRP games - if you break from your internal consistency, you can ruin it for your players.

4 - Pacing

DO NOT allow your players to pause for breath, keep the descriptions coming - and the encounters rapid. The minute they finish with one problem, introduce another. It seems a daft thing to mention, but the more you keep your players on their toes - the more they will enjoy it.

5 - Traps, Tricks, and Puzzles

A lot of modern DM's don't like including Traps, Tricks, or Puzzles - they find them trite or old fashioned. BUT when a Player beats/circumvents such an encounter they will be bouncing with excitement MORE than if their Character had slain the biggest of Dragons.

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