View Full Version : D&D Save My Game: Reward Creativity

PnP News Bot
04-19-2007, 10:31 PM

Check out this new article Wizards of the Coast posted recently:

Save My Game: Reward Creativity (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/sg/20070420&dcmp=ILC-RSSDND)

Challenge Without Frustrating

04-20-2007, 11:48 AM
This article brings up some good points about inspiring creativity in your players, but I think I'd add something to the suggestions that the author, Jason Nelson-Brown, misses in his response.

Here is the question that was posed to him:

I have a problem with the horribly uncreative players that are my friends. I DM a game with four other people playing. I figure their classes are irrelevant, but we have a cleric, a bard, a wizard, and a barbarian. I figure that's enough spread to be creative in terms of problem solving. For example, the cliche of opening a locked door is to pull a book out or remove a torch. I made it so they had to turn a brazier in the corner of the room. It took them one real hour to figure it out, after me hinting at it! How can I breed creativity (at least a little) in them?

Jason points out that the idea of turning a brazier to affect the opening of a door is out in the realm of metagame thinking, and the players are being forced to guess what the DM is thinking. I can see his point. It would be frustrating to be completely on a different page than your DM and be forced to spend an hour in frustration trying to figure out how to open a single door.

I do think though that you can have these sort of challenges in your games without having the players use metagame knowledge. If I were to present this same scenario to my players, I'd allow skill usage to put the players on the right track. So a search roll or open locks isn't going to open the door, but a careful search might reveal that the lock is triggered my some weighted mechanism. Thus, their search skill tells them that if they find the hidden weight trigger, they can activate the lock.

That at least puts the party on the right path. An entire hour sitting in front of a door would hardly be an interesting roleplay experience. It reminds me of the scene from Lord of the Rings where the Fellowship is forced to sit for hours outside of the gates to Mordor while Gandalf tries incantation after incantation to get the door to open but to no avail. I imagine the looks on the faces of this DM's players were very similar. But, just as the movie glossed over the hours needed to figure it out to keep the audience from being equally frustrated, I'd aim to limit the real-time needed to figure out this sort of trivial challenge to just a few minutes. Or in the alternative, at least spice it up a little with a nice squid-like creature popping out and grabbing people at random. ;)