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"Dungeon Delve: When First Rooms Are Last" Topic

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748 hits since 4 May 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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The Bibliophile Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2018 12:09 p.m. PST

I organized another playtest of my head-to-head skirmish rules for dungeon crawling (earlier playtest and game design discussions here and here). I started the rules in late 2016, completely revamped the core mechanics in early 2018, and feel as if I've been intermittently tinkering with both the rules and the content of the initial scenario, "The Crypt of Mighty Lord Thule," up until earlier today.

Below are some photos from our most recent game…



Lots of wound markers to go around in this tightly packed melee against a group of animated statues encountered in the very first room explored after the entrance chamber.



Although we eventually managed to take down two of the four statues, by this point in the game my team had lost both our cleric and sorceress. In fact, a critical miss by my sorceress while casting her spell resulted in a fatal backfire and self-immolation! Hope was definitely receding for the Stank Gang merely one room into the dungeon.

Just before sitting down to the game I had lamented that no adventurers had died in any of the previous playtests. On this run through, half of the total of eight adventurers comprising the two parties died in the very first rooms they each explored. This seems like an irrefutable signal that I need to do a much better job balancing the stats of the foes in the Room Encounters deck. I definitely want the real possibility of fatalities in this game, but barring tremendously poor luck, the adventurers should ideally be able to get through the first room without dying!

I introduced a number of mechanics this time that I generally liked, including the possibility of reviving characters knocked to zero hit points back from death's door (albeit with mounting uncertainty and the likelihood of handicaps for the rest of the game). I also introduced critical hits and misses for all sorts of attacks (melee, ranged, and magical). I need to smooth out the results tables a bit, but I think they added some fun drama to play (if you call wizards blowing themselves up with critical misses fun…which I do).

All in all, though, I believe everyone enjoyed the evening, imperfections and all…and that's a success in and of itself!

More photos, a battle report, and game design notes can be found at my blog, Scrum in Miniature.

saltflats192905 May 2018 12:38 p.m. PST

I can see the "noise" in the first picture.

The Bibliophile Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2018 12:45 p.m. PST

Some events are "noisy" in the game and can have ramifications (e.g., the battle going on in the current room has a chance of alerting any encounter in the next room, giving them the benefit of surprise). For now, we're just writing those cues down right on the map. When I get all of my dungeon tiles painted up, I'll likely come up with a little token to track things like the need for noise checks and whatnot.

Stryderg06 May 2018 10:21 a.m. PST

If dungeons were easy, everyone would raid them.

The Bibliophile Supporting Member of TMP07 May 2018 5:23 a.m. PST

That is worth remembering, Stryderg!

Mithmee Supporting Member of TMP07 May 2018 11:28 a.m. PST

If dungeons were easy, everyone would raid them.

Well they done the only thing is that not everyone makes it back out.

I have ran several dungeons were you were lucky if 20%-25% made it back out.

Oh another dungeons were nearly 20 characters/NPC's went in and only three made it out four if you want to count the individual who got sucked into the Lich's Soul Sucking Gem.

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