PDA

View Full Version : D&D Philosophy Session, Part I



Castagir
10-26-2009, 12:03 PM
Monsters.
Are they a living breathing part of the story behind your game? Or are they just the next thing guarding an empty room in a dungeon?

Seriously. So I am part of a game where we are playing in a world that myself and a buddy of mine have created years ago to match our playing style. We played 50/50 combat and roleplaying, and the story was the most important thing as well as the most entertaining part of our play. We used the story to create tension and reason behind why the PC's did anything. We had a rich and vibrant story line that threw curves at you and vexed the PC's to no end. When we had a battle, it was the culmination of much time spent in character investigation, political rallying and maneuvering, the start or end of a feud, or otherwise the end of a long quest frought with danger to find this one monster. It was rich and vibrant and when I stopped playing for the evening I could not wait to find out what happened next.

Then our group busted up, and I re-started a year later with 3 other people - newbies to our style of play but they had been playing themselves for years - and then my one buddy I wrote the world with came back into play soon after. We change up DM's so all can be a part of character play. Now, my buddy and I cringe while "playing" what the other DM's are putting us through.

Now the best stab at a story tapestry is the typical "You need to go into this dungeon." Even after my character questioning why, all I got were disapproving looks. After hours of the constant clockwork and totally standard "Listen to the door. Is the door locked? I turn the handle. What is in the next room? You see this <monster description>. Roll initiative." Repeat, ad infinitum.

<moan>"So tell me something. How big is this monster? Huge? And we came through a 5' door? How did it get in here? How long has it been just sitting in the corner waiting for some poor sap to open the door? And the door was locked, who locked it? The monster? No? Then why didn't the monster just break out of this door - it's only rotting wood. Must have been bored! And hungry! It hasn't eaten in 1000 years! Why didn't it at least try and control that other monster in the room we just came out of? Or maybe at least eat it, I mean it has been 1000 years already..."

WTF? If I were a beholder with that Intelligence score - I would have been manipulating the entire country side from my newly re-opened tower with a dungeon underneath it. The PC's would not have come near my tower without hitting some heavy resistance from my forces I have assembled, charmed, threatened, extorted, and otherwise forced under my boot so I can control not just the tower and the dungeon, but also the local countryside. That would be the adventure we would have had in the "olden days"...but sadly it has degenerated into Basic D&D whose story could be told just as meaningfully with a pop up book....

Why on earth would anyone A) Make a dungeon as a lair anyway? B) Why is it stuffed with monsters that have no business being there, would stay there for either sociological reasons or even just plain old biological reasons like eating and drinking? and C) You are telling me that in 1000 years the countryside is dotted with these dungeons and the other 20th level characters and NPC's have not raided them yet?

What do you do when your once awesome game of intrigue, magic, and high adventure has degenerated with new players to a hyped up version of "Basic D&D" from the old boxes where all you do is walk around with 10' poles and grind through dungeons all day and night?

On top of that, all these new players do are look up templates and rule loops to make completely way too powerful PC's for the equivalent level and take advantage of the open style of play that was afforded sensible and story-centric players of the previous game.

Whenever I try to get a discussion going on this with the other players all I get are blank looks. It is sad, frustrating, and now boring, and to tell you the truth - this style of gaming is why our system has been overtaken by video games. If I wanted to grind my way through a crap dungeon all day I would play the multiple platforms of whatever the latest game is on my computer without the hours of looking through rulebooks and charts.

Where have all the real DM's and Player's gone?

And my philospohical question aimed at you all - when you encountered you last Beholder, was it guarding a dungeon room as one of multiple pieces of a menagerie line up of Monsters A through Z in the "classic dungeon" petting zoo?

Or was it a kick ass villain with real intelligence that controlled and manipulated its way through the story, to only be caught up with after much intrigue, chases, investigation, back-tracking, mystery, and hired assassin back stab attempts? And on that final battle, to not just sit there as the party charges them - but rather have the final pieces set into motion so that first PC that charges drops from the trap they have sprung!

Next rant/gripe/discussion - magic items and having too many of them.

MortonStromgal
10-26-2009, 01:15 PM
Monsters.
Where have all the real DM's and Player's gone?

And my philospohical question aimed at you all - when you encountered you last Beholder, was it guarding a dungeon room as one of multiple pieces of a menagerie line up of Monsters A through Z in the "classic dungeon" petting zoo?


To other games. I'm not saying that there are no DM's or players like that anymore but D&D tend to be the gateway drug so people who want more than crawling through a dungeon tend to move on to another game.

I think both are valid styles to play D&D. There are some people who just want to kick the door in and roll some dice. D&D does this well. There are people who want to convince the king to send his legions against the next kingdom to the left. D&D in no way prevents you from doing that but a significant percentage of people who want that tend to move onto a game with rules to support that style of play. Unfortunately these people don't all agree so you end up with a vast number of systems out there and when you find yours, finding players can be rough.

If you choose to continue with D&D rather than chasing down some other system I suggest when you advertise your game you tell people what style you play to begin with. There are players who really get into character and play D&D they just might be a minority these days.

Short list of other games to look at: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, GURPS, The Burning Wheel, Runequest, Barbarians of Lemuria, Exalted and Reign

Castagir
10-26-2009, 02:08 PM
I hear what you are saying, definitely. I am thinking of cutting out of this game, packing up all the minis and maps, all the written history and background material, telling the other players I got a second job and then re-open a new game with just one other person on the same night. Then maybe adding a second player out of a couple of other potentially interested parties.

I have come to find that in playing any game like this any group larger than 3 people tends to degenerate into a singularity .poop file.

Just wanted to rant to other gamers and see if there is anyone else out there that feels the same way.

My best game of this style of play I have ever played? Marvel RPG (the old school Marvel with the Universal table). Now that was a damn good time! Back when 5 normal human ninja's with brains, tactics, and teamwork could defeat a hero with Unearthly body armor...

Arkhemedes
10-26-2009, 07:17 PM
I completely understand where you're coming from Castagir. And this is one of the main reasons I'm almost always the DM/GM. Because I can't stand a campaign/adventure that makes no sense and I tend to question everything when I can't find any rhyme or reason for it. If there is something in a game that I don't understand, I want there to be a reason for it - in other words, it should be a clue to solving a mystery, not some kind of blunder on the GMs part or the game designer's part. Now, to be fair, mistakes do happen and we can't always make perfect sense or think of every little angle (myself included) - but these should be the exceptions, not the rule.

As for the beholder example, I'll respond with an example of my own: The last time I had a party encounter a beholder, many, many years ago, it wasn't just one beholder but several of them and of different varieties in a warren of beholders who had their own society, a real purpose (mining gems and precious metals) and a small army of charmed giants who acted as their slaves and guards. These beholders behaved intelligently and had established relationships with other underground societies such as drow and powerful beings such as the phaerimm and tomb tappers. The party of adventurers likewise had a good reason for being there and for fighting these beholders. And despite the fact that these adventurers were of very high levels and very powerful (well equipped 20th+ level characters) they had one hell of a time fighting these beholders, having to resort to a series of hit and run skirmishes.

I also happen to be a big fan of D&D as opposed to other systems and while other systems might have their advantages for certain styles of play, I am a firm believer that I can make D&D work for almost any style of play or any genre for that matter, with a few house here and there of course.

DMMike
10-26-2009, 07:58 PM
You know, I usually think of the beholder (don't these things have a non-cheesy name?) as an overblown, meta-gamey, high fantasy monster that doesn't have much place in the world. But after Castagir's question on how much investigation and mystery were involved in the last beholder encounter, I'm picturing this:

"After months of political wrangling, you convinced the Royal Commission that your diplomatic meeting with the king would be worthwhile. And it couldn't come soon enough; you're sick to death of dealing with sand-elves. The endless pleasantries, elaborate garb, and constant focus on regulations are all things you'll be happy to leave in this country, once you meet the king-elf and accomplish your mission.

In the throne room, amongst some elite-looking guardsmen, a rounded boulder sits on the podium. Is that a perch, or maybe the king is within? As you gather breath to ask when the king will be appearing, the boulder hovers over the podium, and slowly rotates, revealing several long stalks that writhe aimlessly. An immense, black eye spins into view, and one of the stalks siezes a crown and places it atop the ball. A broad smile emerges from under chitinous plates, one altogether unfriendly..."

Where have all the good players gone? They were brainwashed by MTV, commercials, WoW, and candy. They're out there, they just need some rehab.

mad_gondsman
10-26-2009, 10:12 PM
First post here, new to the site. :)

This reminds me of the last tabletop game I ever played. I recall navigating lava floes and pitfalls, making climbing checks and the like to reach a cave in the side of this ominous volcano... only to find dwarves frozen in blocks of ice. It proceeded to get worse as we "discovered" (i.e. were bludgeoned about the head and shoulders with hints) that a Mindflayer was behind the freezing and... I dunno. Never found out why it was so busy freezing Dwarves, but the loot was uber! Heh heh...

Given, RPG's require a certain suspension of disbelief but that is not to say that there is not a fairy tale logic to be followed. Some DM's are great at improvising on the fly. Some are great at organizing and preparing. Some just can't seem to do either of these... BUT... if they have fun and have loyal players, more power to them.

The problem isn't a shortage of people that love a great story (I can get lost for hours in a good romp) but getting them all under one roof once you find them. These types of players sometimes consider themselves trailblazers and might be hesitant to join up with another game due to bad past experiences or lofty ideals. It's like herding cats.

But I feel your pain. I've quit playing for years due to just being frustrated with players always dropping, not showing, badgering me to create an epic level 30 campaign so they can play in god-mode...

I like a good hack and slash from time to time (Gawd, Undermountain runs are still my favorite DnD romps to date) but (in my opinion!) there is no substitute for a great plot and well-thought encounters.

(Side note: Just reading up on Forgotten Realms 4e and I'm saddened that all of that canon has been laid to waste... :( So much great content!)

Skunkape
10-27-2009, 09:02 AM
A long time ago I moved away from the create random set of rooms (dungeon) and populate it with monsters (mobs) video game mentality of PnP games. At that time, I started trying to come up with a story as to why these creatures were living where they were and what they would do to protect their homes.

I also tried to tie that into the over all story of whatever campaign I was running. Even if the reasons for the monsters inhabiting an area didn't have an impact on the main story, I tried to make sure they had a good reason for being there.

My most recent campaign is entirely player driven, so while the campaign has a story behind it, the players are the reason for the story and are deciding where the story is going.

Q-man
10-27-2009, 09:31 AM
Out of curiosity what are they like when they aren't DMing? I would think the way they handle their players would indicate that they aren't interested in a story. I've tried to be picky about who I'm playing with, but its not always possible since filling a group is tricky.

As a DM I've tried to encourage players to role play. I've tossed in bonuses to attack/damage rolls for good descriptions of the action; the same for skill checks. XP for good role play, or possibly special magic items. This usually does pretty well, until I get accused of playing favorites or something.

I've also tried to use story to guide the party to more role playing. When they charge into a combat I find some way to paint the monsters in a sympathetic way. Those wererats you just killed, they were unfortunate halflings that were cursed; they hid in those ruins to escape persecution until they could remove the curse. To make them feel a little guilty about their rash actions.

Some players like this style, others don't. You just have to keep looking for a group that fits what you're after.

Castagir
10-27-2009, 10:20 AM
Arkhemedes - I love the D&D 3.5e. I thought it was a good job on a system and does allow many styles of play.

mad_gondsman - it is very difficult to get them under one roof. Between jobs, kids, and wives we are a dying breed (30+ gamers).

Skunkape - that is the game I enjoy playing also - a player driven game where the players choose their next destination and the DM makes that portion up and takes them through it. And there is usually a reason or some sort of thought behind the decision, from either an outside event that the Dm gives or from the cascade of reactions from player choices and character actions. Hell even the just act of the PC's making a single decision on their own is more true gaming that what I am going though now.

Q-man - "what are they like when they aren't DMing?"
One word. Same. I have done similar tactics to incentivize the roleplaying and participation in the story. All to no avail. I get blank looks and uncomfortable silences. And when they take the DM chair, without fail every time what do we go and do? We go into a dungeon. Complete with the riddle-doors and the secret passages and monsters waiting for some poor sap to open the door they have been stuck behind for who knows how long. Don't forget the obligatory poison darts and fireball traps on the doors. Time after time after time.

LOL - if I did that trick with the wererats/halflings they would not even bat an eyelash - I tried that tactic with a town full of yak folk that were bonded into the normal people. No trying to figure out ways to save people, no trying to figure why this even happened - just went in to hack and slash and get XP and root around for magic items. That was it.

So, I guess in a nutshell, I need to find another group.

wizarddog
10-27-2009, 03:55 PM
D&d and roleplaying games mean different things to different people.

In the case where the adventure/campaign seems to lack elements you find valuable you can either 1) try to infuse more of your style 2) not play with that group.

I adjust my style of play based on the group if I play (I prefer to DM) in. If I am in a role playing group, I do what I can to add to the story and interactions. If I'm in a tactical group, I truly to plan my attacks and actions to benefit the party. If I should (unfortunately) play in a hack and slash, then I make my PC in accordance.

In any group, I do I seize the opportunities of expressing my own style of play into the adventure. So I will have moments.:)

Grimwell
10-29-2009, 01:56 PM
Oh how did I miss this thread? :)

The origins of D&D are vested deeply in that random and nonsensical dungeon full of monsters and treasure with no logic. When the game was being created out of a war game, that was the core of the environment.

Some DM's quickly stood out as able to use this system for story and slowly that became more and more popular as an option; but that's all it's ever been, an option. When younger folks get familiar with the game, it's combat and loot unless they fall in with more experienced players who can teach them that it's also character.

I can't say I'm great at story and character, but it's very important to me.

Pushkins
11-01-2009, 11:45 PM
I am with ya Castagir, maybe it's my age, or just that my free time is more important now than ever since I have made a mini-me

My cling to other 30+ players is do we just leave them to eat beholder dust in a dungeon forever, as we climb back up into the mountains and fiddle like monks with a secret? or do we try to scuplt them and change them, thus making the gaming community that survives to our ripe old age viable?

Because in part their style and expirence of roleplaying is our fault, Since Kooch was there old DM, and we ran back to the mountains and hid from his madness, LOOK WHAT WE'VE DONE!!!

:lol: sh!t just like I want to be 6 yrs old forever, make me 3rd level forever

DMMike
11-02-2009, 12:08 AM
Monsters.
Are they a living breathing part of the story behind your game? Or are they just the next thing guarding an empty room in a dungeon?

So to address the first question:

The monsters in my game, intelligent ones, anyway, are living and breathing. And some are part of the story. Others are not living. Nor breathing. And their inertness means that they must wait until a PC or NPC makes them part of the story.

But either way, things don't just happen in my game. I follow the basic physics rule: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

And the basic economics rule:
Rational actors seek to maximize utility. Irrational actors don't.

Pushkins
11-02-2009, 03:55 AM
I follow the basic physics rule: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.



In another way can't this also be called a butterfly effect? Meaning that the entire world is intertwined?

I only stress this because I know how Castagir and Myself play/DM. That the things in the world the players interact with must have prior story/reason, and then post story/reason.

In his example of the Beholder within the dungeon, It doesn't hold a principal of Gygaxian Naturalism, meaning, the Beholder if powerful enough should be in charge of the entire dungeon, most traps and undead have been sprung and or removed by the local creatures the beholder has enslaved to do his bidding. Doors are stuck open etc... and charmed local's either humans or orc or whatever from the area carry out tasks for the beholder, so that it may relish in it's own greed of the wealth found within the dungeon, or be able to study and investigate the dungeon without worry of finding food or having to fend itself off from other would be onlookers and snoopers of the dungeon, Whatever

Beyond the Gygaxian naturalism is the Butterfly Effect. Where now since this beholder is here, even if the party NEVER comes across it, the beholder is now part of a greater story. Say the party had only come across a small band of orc in the woods near this dungeon. and they had food and bundles of books and maps they were being commanded to bring to the beholder. Never did the party know of the dungeon or the beholder, but the Beholder now knows of the party, and in the future there maybe some interaction, or further investigating of. Each item in a story should be like a floral bud, that if left untouched eventually will flower into full bloom, then pollinate, and the butterfly will come to carry the nectar and the pollen to the new spot, so to say

that is if you follow me:eek:

Grandore The Giant Killer
11-03-2009, 07:06 AM
My DM is fairly good when it comes to the story. As far as Beholders go the last time I seen him use them when they weren't used as a "Final arena battle" was literally through this dungeon that basically made me go through the inside of a whole entire mountain. I came to a cold arctic room where suddenly this glacier came to life and turned to be an Ice Beholder. The thing was there protecting a specific piece to the puzzle I needed. Now you wanna talk about random encounters with monsters stuck in rooms, let me tell you something I find realistic. In this dungeon I once came into the room where my DM was like "You come into this room and in the middle of the floor is the skeleton of a Nightmare." See? It shows the monster got stuck in there and starved to death. Or like if a monster is there he'll say a bunch of mangled of corpses are there as well. And then to answer why he couldn't get out I tried to smash through the door and it magically repaired itself.

When it comes to monsters my DM is pretty clever. The things he LOVES to use are the monsters you just wouldn't ever think you'd ever run into like the objects that attack you, ooze monsters, and those damn Gelatin cubes that have goodies inside them to lure other players inside it thinking it's just laying there. He also loves to have Bandits running around on traveling roads claiming the road as theres.

DMMike
11-06-2009, 02:49 AM
In another way can't this also be called a butterfly effect? Meaning that the entire world is intertwined?


In his example of the Beholder within the dungeon, It doesn't hold a principal of Gygaxian Naturalism, meaning, the Beholder if powerful enough should be in charge of the entire dungeon, most traps and undead have been sprung and or removed by the local creatures the beholder has enslaved to do his bidding.

Beyond the Gygaxian naturalism is the Butterfly Effect. Where now since this beholder is here, even if the party NEVER comes across it, the beholder is now part of a greater story. Each item in a story should be like a floral bud, that if left untouched eventually will flower into full bloom, then pollinate, and the butterfly will come to carry the nectar and the pollen to the new spot, so to say

that is if you follow me:eek:

My understanding of the butterfly effect is that chaos theory suggests that some events can snowball into massive events. Like a butterfly flapping its wings, which then becomes a tropical storm somewhere. I'm sure it looks good on paper, but I think that's the extent of it.

Recognizing that I have finite resources as a DM, if I plan a few story elements that aren't directly in contact with the heroes, they will either find a way to interact with the PCs, or add to ambiance. Otherwise, I don't have the time to worry about it.

A nice thing about the heroes is that nothing really exists until they interact with it. Which means: when the PCs run into your beholder, well, it has all sorts of history. At least as far as they know. Because really, you just rolled the thing up five seconds ago, and since it seems interesting, you've decided to make it a part of the story.

Pushkins
11-07-2009, 11:51 PM
In affect I do mean the Chaos theory of the butterfly effect, that events by the PCs do cause reaction somewhere else in the world, as to running parallel with the Party, actions of others rather influenced by the Gods or the Balance will always be going on elsewhere, and since a DM has to keep the world interesting, those ripple effects do occur, even if they are not formally written down or documented at the time

Malruhn
11-08-2009, 09:33 PM
GREAT thread!!

I was DMing about three years (playing for about three years and two weeks... yeah, I started DMing QUICK!), when I had some free time and started building a dungeon using the tables from the back of the first DMG (Efreet on cover!!). One big room had forty hobgoblins in it, which was fine. The next room had a dozen goblins.

Waidaminid!!! Don't hobs enslave gobs?? Why are they there? I continued on, but gave up when I realized just what this thread is about... nothing made sense.

SO I went back and started with the same map and the 40 hobs and went from there. Let's just say that the party was wiped out within about 30 minutes (to include the at-the-time obligatory, "You all meet in the tavern"). TPK's weren't new - heck, with 1st edition and Basic D&D rules, TPK's WERE the rule! It was the fact that the dungeon seemed to be WORKING TOGETHER to keep the party out. The hobs were using wave after wave of gobs to weaken the party... and they seemed to cooperatively make defensive positions...

The party was floored.

So we spent ten minutes rolling up new characters, and suddenly each player had a note stuffed in their hand - "A town crier approaches and hands you a note with a royal crest sealing the scroll. The note inside is signed by the King - and he wants you to meet at the Royal Armory to meet to intrepid warriors to do something about a hobgoblin uprising that seems to be centered on the dungeon."

It worked like a charm!

Suddenly the players realized that THEY had a roll in the WORLD, not just as automatons in a story, and that the MONSTERS had a roll in the world as well.

Now, the only things that are just haphazardly placed around are guardian critters that are usually summoned and bound... waiting to be found by the PC's. Other than that - everything in my campaign world is living, breathing and fighting for survival.

(insert evil laugh here!)

kirksmithicus
11-08-2009, 10:01 PM
Most of my favorite games were those that took place outside of dungeons and were light on monsters.

Pushkins
11-09-2009, 07:48 AM
Mulruhn- That is Exactly how its done!! Bravo

I still hate dungeons myself, but that's more of an issue with my tastes, The way you handed the dungeon was great, and even as far as extending outward to the Note from the King, because obviously that horde of nasties rooted in there was becoming a major problem for his holdings

:cool:

Castagir
11-10-2009, 09:19 AM
Most of my favorite games were those that took place outside of dungeons and were light on monsters.

Mine too.

Arkhemedes
11-10-2009, 09:30 AM
I've had some pretty amazing games inside "so-called dungeons". For me, the setting is pretty much irrelevant. Its the story and the truly epic battles that count regardless of where they occur.

WhiskeyFur
11-10-2009, 11:54 AM
One thing I did in the past, is whatever dungeon that was rolled up randomly, either though a dungeon generator or just through mad design, that I would take the god view of that dungeon and start playing what if's. What if monster A wandered over here, where monster B is...

Do that a few times and watch the dominos fall where they will. Don't have to run through the actual combat, but just enough to get an idea of whose going to be the top dog in the dungeon. And then, once they take control... which races are going to be extinct?

A dungeon is a full ecosystem that the players have the distinct joy of wrecking.

I had one where there were rooms after rooms of goblins, and I was left going 'WTH?!" Did up the loot and everything, and what do you know... one of the gobby chiefs had a circulet of intellect. Can we say warleader?

Figured out that they wern't there originally, they just moved in and took over.

DMMike
11-11-2009, 12:13 PM
Figured out that they wern't there originally, they just moved in and took over.

What, goblins can't build/own a dungeon? That's a bit biased, don't you think? :laugh:

Dungeonscape (3.5) was one of the books that got me really thinking about dungeons. And more importantly, unless you're Alaster (?), you don't build a dungeon for adventuring's sake. So most actual dungeons are active castle prisons, abandoned castle prisons, mines, or over-zealous crypts.

And the goblins you find inside are probably just using it as a hide-out, since you can't fit a goblin band comfortably into a dungeon, must less maintain a decent living temperature in there without lighting fires and smoking the place out...

Dr.Dead
11-11-2009, 06:08 PM
Beholder is a intelligent villian. And its sounds like a bunch of fun.

Dread_Pirate
11-11-2009, 07:53 PM
great OP.

I've been away from P&P for about 2 decades. If you just want encounters play a computer game. You can go on when you want, you don't have to find people, or deal with schedules. That's the way to go. If you want more story, more thought, more interaction and depth. P&P should be the answer. Regardless of system.

This thread gives me hope and promise that it's out there, that you guys are out there. But it seems that I'll have to get lucky or forage through the rubble to find it, if I ever do.

If any of the DM's here need a player for an online group, I'd be happy to contribute what I could. Adding to a story, a real living breathing story sounds like fun. If I wanted to just grind encounters, well I have subscriptions to MMO's I can keep playing.

Good luck to all of you.

mnemenoi
11-11-2009, 09:48 PM
I try and do a more mature and in depth game here (Dwarf Hold of Uerythtar) and we attempt to write an epic tale with very realistic characters. I never tell anyone what they are facing, nor are any magical items ever identified. I always ran my Table top games that way and found it much more moving and exciting. Everyone is free to read the game over and just ask we are always happy to add a few more dwarves to the game.

WhiskeyFur
11-12-2009, 12:20 PM
What, goblins can't build/own a dungeon? That's a bit biased, don't you think? :laugh:

Dungeonscape (3.5) was one of the books that got me really thinking about dungeons. And more importantly, unless you're Alaster (?), you don't build a dungeon for adventuring's sake. So most actual dungeons are active castle prisons, abandoned castle prisons, mines, or over-zealous crypts.

And the goblins you find inside are probably just using it as a hide-out, since you can't fit a goblin band comfortably into a dungeon, must less maintain a decent living temperature in there without lighting fires and smoking the place out...

Never said they couldn't, but if you have enough numbers, why bother with building one when you can just evict someone else?

And I did run the goblins vs the dragon in it. Goblins won through sheer numbers and overbearing the dragon down. Once it was down, -slice-, dead dragon.

That warchief was dangerous.

scars_of_carma
12-14-2009, 12:58 AM
<moan>"So tell me something. How big is this monster? Huge? And we came through a 5' door? How did it get in here? How long has it been just sitting in the corner waiting for some poor sap to open the door? And the door was locked, who locked it? The monster? No? Then why didn't the monster just break out of this door - it's only rotting wood. Must have been bored! And hungry! It hasn't eaten in 1000 years! Why didn't it at least try and control that other monster in the room we just came out of? Or maybe at least eat it, I mean it has been 1000 years already..."

:lol: I know exactly what you mean. For example I feel like the only DM that's ever remembered to put a privy in a castle floorplan... At the end of the narrow corridor is a small door with a foul smell seeping through it... what do you do?!


Next rant/gripe/discussion - magic items and having too many of them.

I look forward to it!

tesral
12-14-2009, 07:17 AM
:lol: I know exactly what you mean. For example I feel like the only DM that's ever remembered to put a privy in a castle floorplan... At the end of the narrow corridor is a small door with a foul smell seeping through it... what do you do?!


Yea, bathrooms made an early appearance in my plans. Not too early however. Remember, the palace of Versailles; 700 rooms and not a single bathroom. That sort of thing was handled with chamber pots, commodes, and peeing in the stairwells (Not kidding)

That said the garderobe is a common feature in medieval castles.

Swordnboard
12-14-2009, 10:13 AM
I totally agree with the OP. I typically GM/DM a story with a 50/50 encounter/roleplaying ratio, and I don't like leading the PCs anywhere without a reason. Nor do I like running into an illogical situation that just flat does not make sense. As a result, I rarely do dungeons -- at least not in the traditional sense. There are crypts (again --needs to be a good reason to be there), castles, forts, etc. if they make sense. But most adventures I do are in the open or in cities, not in dungeons.
Hack and slash tends to only be fun for a little while, and really that's what computer games are for. PnP roleplaying requires a little more finesse/thinking outside the box and should be less-combat oriented in my opinion (but I can understand the "break down the door" style).

scars_of_carma
12-14-2009, 04:47 PM
Yea, bathrooms made an early appearance in my plans. Not too early however. Remember, the palace of Versailles; 700 rooms and not a single bathroom. That sort of thing was handled with chamber pots, commodes, and peeing in the stairwells (Not kidding)

That said the garderobe is a common feature in medieval castles.

*shudders* I admit I never-ever thought about chamber pots before... I will have to start using them :) My research into real-life castles isn't that extensive... I've seen recreated floorplans and read like those illustrated books they have in school-library's...

Moritz
12-15-2009, 09:19 AM
http://www.mikerayhawk.com/images/beholder.jpg

tesral
12-15-2009, 10:34 AM
Why do the shorts have leg holes? Did it steal them from a titan?

nijineko
12-22-2009, 03:58 PM
probably so they would be recognized for their intended purpose by humanoids. or maybe because it wears them on it's head sometimes....

Frobozz
12-22-2009, 04:45 PM
Haha... nice picture. I always try to make my locations "believable" when considering the ecology of the creatures living there. It helps though to not think too deeply into it and just assume monsters have to "eat less". Sure, a rust monster might lair in a dungeon because there's a lot of iron still down there and he may have a decent supply of adventuring parties to feed him; but can he live down there for thousands of years? Probably not. Heck, could rust monsters even survive a few generations in the wilderness? Probably not unless they also can eat meat/plants.

I dunno, I don't read too far into it. Heck, most of the Monster Manual wouldn't survive a month in a fantasy/medieval environment when you really study them in depth and start counting up herbivores, predators and larger and larger predators. Do I place the rust monster at the bottom of a pit where he eagerly awaits hapless adventures once every 10 years or so so he can finally eat? No. I don't do that either.

In the end, I make my creature encounters believable enough that they could be there, but not where they wouldn't be able to get out or around if needed. There are some back corners of underground dungeons that make this concept difficult though. Constructs and undead are the ultimate utility creatures to this effect since they don't have to eat, drink, sleep or even breath. Slimes, oozes, molds, fungal-based creatures and extra-planar monsters are also handy to this effect.