Dungeons are a staple of TTRPGs (it’s even half of Dungeons & Dragons, probably the most common video games!), they usually’re superior instruments for one-shot adventures too. So we interviewed Duke Davis, from One-Shot Questers, to inform us all about dungeon one-shots and the way to use them at your desk!
Scroll all the way down to hearken to the podcast episode!
Why use dungeons
One-shots are normally about getting from level A to level B—because it’s a self-contained story inside a single session, there isn’t time for anything! And dungeons, due to being enclosed areas which can be totally beneath the GM’s management, are precisely that too! Certain, the gamers might take their time looking out in empty rooms, however they’ll ultimately make their option to level B, and you should use some methods to get them there sooner too.
Now, earlier than you get too enthusiastic about dungeon and pull out your mapmaking instruments: don’t begin with the map! Dungeons ought to observe a narrative, a theme. You don’t must go very deep into it (except your gamers are lore-hungry), however even a minimal story will make the dungeon really feel extra life like and purposeful.
Tips on how to construct a dungeon
In the event you’ve been with us for some time, you would possibly know that now we have a sure (wholesome) obsession with one thing we name “the meta“. One of many factors of the meta is Theme, so in fact I’m going to convey it up right here too! Take into consideration widespread themes you’ll be able to construct your dungeon round in order that all of it feels constant. For instance, Duke talked about two examples of his previous video games—one was an illusion-based dungeon. Every thing in that dungeon was an phantasm… besides some issues weren’t to throw the gamers off! To discover a theme, take into consideration why the dungeon is there within the first place. Was it an deserted constructing? Is it a burial website? An outdated fortress? Take into consideration the way it turned deserted and what has occurred since then, and also you’ll have your theme!
Take heed to your gamers too! Ask them what they need to see within the sport and constructing the dungeon round that. In fact, don’t ask them for particulars, but when they need a dungeon stuffed with riddles and traps, you’ll be able to make sure that should you construct that, they’ll be completely happy and have tons of enjoyable! And having enjoyable is why we’re sitting across the desk, in spite of everything.
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Tips on how to make dungeon fight extra thrilling
It could be tough to flee the “they hit, you hit, they hit, you hit” fight dynamic in sure methods like D&D should you don’t particularly search for methods to make fight extra partaking. And, let’s face it, this dynamic can get boring quick. So, to stop that, add some fascinating parts that make fight extra than simply hitting somebody with significantly sharp sticks. Listed here are some strategies!
- Traps: if preventing monsters wasn’t sufficient, have your gamers struggle the surroundings too! Traps may very well be location-based (you’ll be able to’t step on sure areas) or time-based (the room will get narrower each spherical).
- Follow multitasking: give the social gathering an extra purpose, like rescuing some hostages. This will even encourage them to roleplay and would possibly even create some battle amongst them as they focus on what their priorities needs to be.
- Helpful minions: moderately than giving the boss minions simply to steadiness the motion economic system, add minions which can be doing truly helpful stuff! They may very well be calling for reinforcements, summoning a spell or a monster, or attempting to run away with essential data. It will give the gamers extra issues to do whereas nonetheless balancing issues out!
And do not forget that not all combats have to be bodily! You would throw in a social encounter too, which may generally be as tough as a bodily fight. Or you would even combine them collectively and have a struggle if the social interplay goes south.
Puzzles and traps
Gamers have a behavior to overthink something you throw at them—put them in entrance of an open door, they usually’ll nonetheless attempt to discover a secret mechanism to unlock it. So when designing puzzles, don’t make them too advanced, or they could get caught! Nonetheless, it’s best to have a option to transfer the story ahead if they will’t discover the answer. For instance, a guard would possibly come out a secret door (and sound the alarm) if the gamers take too lengthy to unlock it. And don’t be afraid to make use of the rule of cool—in the event that they provide you with an answer that might work though it’s not fairly what you had in thoughts, reward their creativity and allow them to do it!
No matter you do, puzzles and traps ought to make the gamers suppose! It’s not enjoyable for a puzzle to be resolved with a cube roll—encourage crucial pondering and your complete one-shot will probably be extra enjoyable. And join them to the story each time you’ll be able to. It will make them extra per the world, but additionally simpler to resolve as a result of your gamers will be capable to use the knowledge they’ve in regards to the world as hints!
Take heed to the complete interview to be taught extra about dungeon one-shots!
Need to be taught extra about the way to create dungeons for one-shots? Take a look at the complete interview on YouTube and Spotify!
Who’s Duke Davis?
Duke Davis is a GM specialised in brief campaigns and one-shots. He’s additionally the mastermind behind the One Shot Questers, the place he’s attempting to convey fantasy into the true world, in addition to OSQtv, a comedy channel filled with hilarious RPG sketches!
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