Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Perhaps My Favorite Part of D&D

Last night was session 12 of my Tuesday night First Edition game. Somewhat to my surprise, there was not a single combat. (Well, one character did kill a piercer which was feeding on a dead goblin, but I'd hardly call it a combat.) The only major potential throwdown (a group of albino carnivorous apes) was defused by the cleric's timely casting of speak with animals and a good reaction roll. ("I knew that spell would come in handy!" the player exclaimed.)

The entire session consisted of exploring the various strange floors of Radamant's Tower. The party found many strange things, but bypassed many things as well, as they are chasing an evil NPC magic-user who entered the tower ahead of them. (Due to their nine day delay while the thief recuperated and they chased down a cult of people worshipping a coven of jackalweres.) The party seems very interested in exploring the rest of the dungeon once they catch the magic-user.

I absolutely loved watching them toy with the various strange devices they found in the tower. The exploration aspect of traditional D&D is probably the best part, for me anyway. I absolutely relish seeing what they poke, what they steal, and what they tiptoe around out of paranoia or common sense.

The two highlights of the session:

1. A player told me that he couldn't wait to see what was in the next room or hallway of the tower.

2. That same player has the idea of clearing out this tower and claiming it as a stronghold for the party! I thought it was a fantastic idea, though I told them it will take some cash, (to repair the damaged sections and perhaps dig a more accessible entrance) time, and effort (clearing out the monsters, blocking access to the sunken tower from the underworld.)

This was actually one of my favorite sessions so far. Now, I just need to come up with some ad-hoc experience for them. (Since they killed nothing but a piercer and found relatively little treasure.)


  1. RE: Clearing out the dungeon so to use it as a stronghold.

    I had this idea myself after our first on-line B/X session about four weeks ago:

    In my case, the place just resonated as "hey, this would be a good stronghold for my character." My character at the time was a cleric whose deity was Giant Toad, the dungeon was smallish, of good (dwarf) construction, hidden behind a waterfall...plenty of moisture, darkness, etc. It just seemed like the ideal place to set up a hidden Toad Temple.

    And why shouldn't PCs make use of dungeons once they're cleared out? I know as a kid that whenever a dungeon was completed, the PCs would collapse it or blow it up or burn it down. But especially the ones that are serviceable or semi-serviceable castles/strongholds (module B1, I'm looking at you!) WHY NOT move in once the place registers as "all clear?"

    Anyhoo...just saying...

  2. Cool.
    --It sounds like everyone had a good time. :D

  3. Dear Mr. Save vs. Poison,
    As I have explained on my blog "Why D&D Sucks", D&D is about killing monsters and taking their stuff, nothing more.

    In future please refrain from these "exploratory" no-combat "fun" sessions.

    Thank you,
    The Powers that Wannabe

  4. Exploration in a game is by and far the most important aspect of Dungeons and Dragons in my mind as well...

    It's one of those things that is unfortunately overshadowed when you place a heavy emphasis on tactical simulation rules and miniatures. Not always mind you, but it's very often the case.

    Cool blog by the way.

  5. "1. A player told me that he couldn't wait to see what was in the next room or hallway of the tower."

    Man, that's great. Good on you for being such a compelling story teller!

  6. I suggest putting an XP value on reaching each floor (maybe only a hundred per PC for each floor) and another for clearing the tower so it's safe to use.

    Then again, one might argue that the reward for clearing the tower is that they gain the use of it and the treasure within it. They can choose to do things that result in no XP, after all, and you're not expected to give XP anyway. Likewise for treasure. Unfortunately with that view there is no reason to roleplay since the reward for that is just in the fun you get ...