This past January we had a long weekend with some wonderful friends we love. The weekend was tons of fun, where we played a game of fighting our way out of a tomb we’d been stuck in for thousands and thousands of year. A dungeon crawl of sorts.
I’d run a similar game of this type earlier, where I used the dungeon crawl structure to create an action movie pastiche, and in the process I just want to offer five short tips:
- You can probably get through N combat encounters, where N is the number of players minus one.
- The players are learning their characters and that means first encounter will be completely rough, the second will even out and the third will be when they’re confident enough to use their abilities cleanly and consistantly.
- The higher level a game you conduct the more complex the game is. The more complex the game is, the more everyone’s turn has to be spent double checking every other player’s behaviour. Lower level games will run smoother and faster.
- There are some game elements that are going to stop a story dead in its tracks while it’s solved. These arrests are often around puzzles or mysteries. Think like an action film – you don’t want to structure your story so the puzzles are silly or easy, so instead focus on the puzzles as a way to get characters to express who they are in a dramatic way.
- Double back! If you make maps for 2-3 encounters, have players fight their way in, then have pursuers block their exit so you can use those same maps for the players fighting their way out!