5 Room Dungeon Template
Once I invented the 5 Room Dungeon in 2003, I first considered it as a bodily journey framework.
5 literal encounters.
This methodology nonetheless works brilliantly, however we are able to advance it for excellent monster hunter storytelling.
After studying a bunch of labor by American professor Joseph Campbell, who wrote Hero of a Thousand Faces and whose story sample Hollywood adopted for tons of of blockbuster hits, I noticed how legendary story construction might make creating RPG adventures loads simpler.
With experimentation, it boiled down to 5 key encounters or conditions:
Room I: Entrance and Guardian
What’s the explanation why your dungeon hasn’t been plundered earlier than or why the PCs are the heroes for the job?
A guardian or problem on the entrance is an effective justification why the situation stays intact.
And a guardian units up early motion to seize participant curiosity and energize a session.
Room II: Roleplay or Puzzle
The PCs emerge victorious over the primary room problem and are actually introduced with a trial that can not be solved with metal.
This retains downside solvers in your group completely satisfied and breaks the motion up for good pacing.
Make this a puzzle, skill-based, or roleplaying encounter.
It’s a possibility to highlight totally different PCs than the heroes of Room One by altering up gameplay.
Room III: Trick or Setback
With this room we need to construct rigidity.
Do that utilizing a trick, lure, or setback.
For instance, after defeating a tricky monster, and gamers suppose they’ve lastly discovered the treasure and achieved their objective, they be taught they’ve been tricked and the room is a false crypt.
Relying in your recreation system, use this room to cater to any participant or character sorts not but served by the primary two encounters.
Alternatively, give your group a double-dose of gameplay that they get pleasure from essentially the most, equivalent to extra fight or roleplaying.
Room IV: Main Battle
Welcome to the grand finale!
The celebration confronts their prey ultimately.
Use all of the techniques, cool terrain, and encounter results you may summon to make this encounter memorable and entertaining.
Begin or finish with roleplay.
Possibly the monster must stall for time to let PC buffs put on out, watch for assist to reach, or stir itself right into a rage.
Maybe the fight ends with the monster bleeding to demise and some brief phrases could be exchanged.
As soon as the hunt has ended, perhaps there are helpless minions or prisoners to roleplay with.
Room V: Reward and Revelation
Gamers now earn their simply rewards for taking such dangers.
They discover the treasure hoard, maybe trapped, and reap.
We will additionally sow hooks for our subsequent 5 Room Dungeon within the type of twists, clues, and revelations, retaining our monster searching marketing campaign going.
Room 5 is the place your creativity can shine and is commonly what is going to make this monster hunt totally different and memorable from earlier ones.
For extra data on 5 Room Dungeons, get my e-book totally free proper right here.
5 Room Dungeon Monster Hunt Template
We will additionally consider the 5 Room Dungeon as a narrative mannequin we layer on prime whereas we GM.
It’s obtained an entire story baked into the recipe, starting to finish. A number of gameplay unfolds inside its bookends.
And we are able to watch for gamers to make decisions earlier than framing an encounter as one of many rooms.
So we are able to flip 5 Room Dungeons right into a unbelievable monster searching template like this:
- The Legend
- The Lore
- The Scent
- The Beast
- The Reaping
We apply every room as alternative strikes throughout play. You’ll be able to layer it onto an present encounter, or put together an encounter to drop in when prepared.
Room I: The Legend
On this opening stage of our monster hunt journey, we give the celebration their mission.
It might come from a patron or ally. It could possibly be extracted from an enemy. It could possibly be a part of the reward in Room 5 from a earlier 5 Room Dungeon.
No matter hook supply mechanism, the gamers have acquired a brand new goal and a brand new journey has begun.
We use this encounter to “promote” or firmly hook the gamers on the monster.
We create a state of affairs the place participant characters can create an preliminary relationship with the creature by way of:
- Potential payoff
- Neighborhood profit
- Service rendered
- Relatable traits
We need to begin build up the legend of the monster so it serves the position of Characteristic Creature — a celeb of kinds.
This amps up engagement, rigidity, and drama because the celebration stalks their prey and will get nearer and nearer to what you’ve changed into a extremely anticipated confrontation for Room IV.
Room II: The Lore
The Legend will get gamers excited. The Lore makes them apprehensive.
We’ve obtained them hooked and dedicated to our monster hunt journey.
Now we ship the unhealthy information. Muhahaha.
We share tales of our Creature Characteristic, each true and never, to enhance the perceived risk and hazard the celebration’s objective presents.
For starters, we are able to begin killing NPCs.
The monster, and its minions should you’re using the Characteristic Creature because the Enemy Faction, has been busy. A path of our bodies will get gamers hating your monster, they usually turn out to be apprehensive about how a lot hurt and struggling they could expertise.
Room II additionally presents a very good time to assault the Participant Character Faction for a similar advantages.
Ideally, we present as an alternative of inform. We need to impart clues and threats of hazard by way of gameplay, not by direct statements.
At minimal, NPCs ought to ship all Lore to the gamers.
At finest, the mechanics and conditions you arrange in encounters do the be just right for you.
For instance, in Room I the gamers uncover their favorite weaponsmith in a coma. A midnight assault was interrupted by the smith’s husband and the monster fled.
In Room II, the PCs be taught that the creature’s poison chunk places victims into an unwakeable sleep (half-true: the poison induces coma however there may be an antidote).
Additional, the creature has laid eggs within the smith and small creatures develop quickly in her physique. Such is the destiny of all who get bitten.
We’ve handed unbelievable Lore to our gamers with out resorting to boxed textual content.
Room III: The Scent
Now the celebration walks the creature’s path, getting nearer.
Our GM objective with Room III includes placing obstacles and non-deadly threats within the PCs’ option to diminish the celebration’s sources.
We don’t need everybody contemporary and rested once they set off Room IV.
For instance, Room III could possibly be waves of monsters earlier than the ultimate showdown.
We additionally proceed to dish out Legend and Lore the place attainable.
Traps, hazards, and foes additionally hinder the celebration.
However the PCs persevere and draw nearer to the monster they now know a lot about and worry.
We additionally need to use Room III to create urgency.
We don’t desire a lengthy relaxation right here, so we should give characters a motive to maintain up a relentless pursuit.
Maybe too many NPCs are struggling now, the Participant Character Faction weakens an excessive amount of, the Rivals Faction has a lead on the PCs, or the monster has a objective it’s near finishing.
With urgency, wounds, and fear, we propel the participant characters breathlessly into….
Room IV: The Confrontation
Finally we meet the monster!
If we’ve carried out effectively sowing seeds in earlier rooms, the anticipation on the recreation desk shall be at an all-time excessive. Such juicy drama.
We need to stage our monster effectively. An anticlimactic look lets the stress out of the room like a farting balloon.
So we don our storytelling hat and begin with a very good description.
We embrace the six senses to explain proof of the creature’s presence.
We give indicators the creature’s shut. Very shut.
We level to motion simply past vary of sight.
The realm grows silent and neither fowl nor beast takes… a… single… step….
After which BANG! Roll initiative.
Whether or not you lead with the monster caught in mid-act of one thing horrific, or draw out the consequences of the monster’s existence on this place, we current a stage of threats.
Minions, traps, hazards, and inscrutable locations make the battlefield memorable, tactical, and really partaking.
We’ve escalated the Stakes with our Legend and Lore. Now we delve into the Legislation as an thrilling fight erupts, brimming with context and rigidity.
Effectively carried out.
Room V: The Reaping
We create conditions. We play for outcomes.
The large battle with our Characteristic Creature has a number of futures.
And irrespective of how the cube roll, the gamers should face the Penalties.
Hopefully the gamers have gained and earned their bounty.
However in case luck or selections go towards the celebration, we must always suppose forward a bit and provides the celebration at the very least one out.
By “out” I imply a option to run away to struggle one other day or change the tide of battle.
Some GMs roll behind screens and fudge to make this occur, however that’s a final resort for me as I like gameplay to kind issues out. You possibly can select to have the monster withdraw or not pursue, however gamers don’t prefer it when the GM is clear about giving them a hand.
Luckily, we’ve obtained our GM Toolbox brimming with NPCs.
We’ve been introducing new ones and George R.R. Martinizing half.
We’ve been harming NPCs with a side-benefit of proving our impartiality.
We’ve laid the groundwork for NPCs being impartial recreation items that don’t revolve across the celebration.
And due to this fact, NPCs might intervene for their very own causes and also you gained’t break the fiction.
We’ve additionally obtained a Participant Character Faction to serve this function, and even a Rival Faction who may be open to presents.
After we run the Penalties of the Confrontation, win or lose we wish gameplay to proceed.
That is us taking part in the Infinite Sport.
We hand out the rewards now, no matter’s been earned, and the celebration reaps accordingly.
It’s Your Flip
That’s our 5 Room Dungeon template for monster hunt adventures.
We start with Room I: The Legend, which will get the celebration hooked.
We proceed to Room II: The Lore to construct engagement.
Then it’s Room III: The Scent for constructing drama.
With Room IV: The Beast your gamers confront the objective of their hunt and face an thrilling and lethal risk. Huzzah!
And we finish with Room V: The Reaping the place the celebration faces the Penalties of win, complication, or setback.
Do this template out and let me know the way it goes! And if you need extra monster searching journey suggestions, think about getting my information by way of the Kickstarter when it launches tomorrow.