Back into Dungeons and Dragons character races, here is one of the two half races, along with Half-Elf. The basic ideas is that it’s a half human and half orc, but there’s no real reason, other than that they are statted in a way that …
I’ve talked with Dwarves and Elves about how they were inspired by Lord of the Rings. But there aren’t any Halflings in Lord of the Rings. There are Hobbits, obviously. So how close are Hobbits to Halflings? Very close, Halflings are the fun loving, food …
Wait, there was a Dungeons and Dragons post yesterday, and there will probably be a Friday Night Dungeons and Dragons post tomorrow, so even more Dungeons and Dragons?
I wanted to talk about one half of Dungeons and Dragons, and that is the dungeon. I haven’t talked about dragons yet either, but that will be some time later. Instead, I wanted to talk about how you can build interesting dungeons in your D&D game if you want to use them. Dungeons aren’t something that I use that often, or at least what would be considered a dungeon traditionally.
So let’s define what a “dungeon” is for the sake of this article.
A Dungeon is any sort of building or location where the players need to get through it by progressing forward, either to a goal or an exit.
So that might seem wrong to you, you’re thinking of some labyrinth hidden deep under the ground in some remote area that has been long forgotten. That certainly is a dungeon, but a mad wizards tower climbing high into the air is a dungeon. A Minotaur’s labyrinth is also a dungeon. It could be the ruins of a city on the surface, or a druids grove that they’ve grown up to protect them.
All of these options really do want you to move forward or are likely to have something that you want at the end. You’re going to have to fight through monsters and deal with traps.
Let’s also talk some about what dungeons aren’t?
Dungeons aren’t a static thing. The old school dungeon was a collection of monsters and traps thrown together to create a challenge for the players. You’d have an orc in one room, a bugbear and some goblins in another room, a handful of drow the level down in the dungeon with a bunch of random traps and puzzles thrown in the middle of them.
Instead, Dungeons are living locations. While the current inhabitants might not be the original builders of the Dungeon, there is going to be a reason for the monsters to be there. Maybe there are goblins living on the upper levels, and some drow on the bottom levels of the dungeon, but they aren’t going to be living in rooms next to each other, they’d have killed each other. So maybe they would split up floors of a dungeon, leaving buffers between them. The same way, it’s going to have traps or puzzles, have the monsters figured out how to deal with them, or do they just avoid the section that has managed to squish members of the goblin tribe, so it makes where the trap is obvious to adventurers?
Dungeons also aren’t there for no reason. Someone has built them, so they are going to have had an original purpose, which might be the same purpose as of now, but there was a reason. So there also has to be a reason why it is like it is now. But if you’re going to put a random wizard tower deep into the forest, there are going to be stories and legends about this place and a reason the wizard put it there for a reason.
So now that we’re all on the same page as to what a Dungeon is, let’s talk about what is going to come up after this?
We’re going to talk about the ecosystem of your dungeon and why that matters.
We’re going to talk about using puzzles in your dungeon and what that might do to a dungeon.
We’re going to talk about how traps work, and how you avoid bogging down your dungeon with traps.
We’re going to talk about why you’d use a dungeon in your game.
So join me in those upcoming articles as you think about building a dungeon for your game of Dungeons and Dragons.
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!
A couple months ago I had a chance to play the game Fae where you’re playing a fae creatures who are trying to get the most druids matching their color to complete successful rituals. It’s a fun pretty light weight game in terms of your actions, but has a fair amount of strategy to it, and has hidden scoring that makes it an interesting game.
This is a very pretty game as you try and get rituals started. The board has a ton of colors on it and while that can make things look busy on the board some times, in this case it helps keep things clear. There are also a lot of druid figures in the game that work very nicely in the game. Oddly enough, the fae creature artwork might be the best artwork of the game, but that artwork is hidden for the game because you don’t want people to know what color you want to get points.
There are a few interesting mechanics in this game. The first being the interaction of the hidden roles with scoring in the game. In a lot of games with hidden roles you score based off of that role and you’re trying to make it not that obvious who you are going for, and because the scoring happens for every color in a ritual. If you think that someone might be a certain color you could try and cut them out of rituals, and that guessing aspect is part of the game. But you’re also trying to hand out points evenly enough that people can’t guess which color you are. Also, if you can cause rituals to happen, you get points for kicking off the ritual.
Along with that part of the game, the action that you can take on your turn is interesting. All you do on your turn is move a druid from one location to another location until a group of druids is separated from the rest of the druids, and that’s when a ritual happens. However, things can go poorly in the ritual for the druids depending on certain conditions. If every color is present for the ritual you remove one druid of each color, so you have to think about that, but the more druids in a ritual, the more potential points that you can get. It’s a balancing act of giving out as many points as possible, creating the best rituals for your color, and trying to keep your opponents from scoring points on a good ritual.
Beyond that, with rituals, you have to think about where you are completing your ritual. There are certain bonus cards for rituals that you go through in order that adds points into the ritual. So you can add additional points to the ritual itself if it’s on the favored terrain, or bad things will happen if it’s on the cursed terrain for the various point cards. Those cards also give you more points at the end of the game, so you are trying to cause rituals to get a number of them, but you don’t want to cause rituals to happen that could potentially be bad for you.
For me, this game hits a nice balance of strategy and randomness. Because you, especially at the start of the game, don’t have any idea what color people might have, you can start out rushing for completing rituals to get the point cards, but you can also accidentally be setting someone up with that. And as you get further into the game, the turns take longer as your thinking through what might be happening and how to maximize your remaining points so that you end up ahead. The game has a good balance of pushing your color ahead while also causing you to give points to other colors at the same time.
Overall, I think this is a very well done game and one that is quite pretty to look at. The only thing that I very odd about the look is that the board wraps, and I don’t mean that the board goes the pacman run from one side to the other, I mean that the paper on the cardboard on two sides doesn’t have a border to show the edge of the board, but instead wraps around the edge of the board. It made me feel like it was missing another board or so. Beyond that, though, the game has a nice blend of strategy and deduction to it. If you can figure out what colors other people might have, then it becomes purely strategy, but really, you’re going to have a best educated guess. When I played it, both the other person and I thought each other was the same color so that adds to the fun of the game, trying to guess. I also like this game because there aren’t that many rules and while it could be an abstract game, the theme doesn’t add much to the game play, but adds to the look of the game. This game ends up being one that is easy to sit down and learn or easy to pick up and teach to people who might not be heavy into board gaming.
Overall Grade: B+
Gamer Grade: B
Casual Grade: B+
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!
PS. I should mention that this is a re implementation of Clans. Basically the same game.
This is an interesting background to look at. Generally, as a player, I’d steer clear of it, unless you wrap your head around a strong concept of why your character isn’t a hermit anymore? The most common way that people use this background that I see is by having a druid or some other nature loving class, have their nature being threatened, then they can come in to a village to get help. That is a good trope in a lot of ways because it gives the dungeon master a nice hook to sink into it for that character and that story. It also is a good concept for a druid build that can naturally be a little bit more stand-off to the real world, and it gives the option of playing a fish out of water.
What else can you do with a Hermit? You have an herbalism kit and you get proficiency with both medicine and religion. That in a lot of ways opens up a bunch of different options that I’ll explore below. But having medicine and religion allows you to go away from as nature focused a character, though most often that will be the direction that people lean. Here are some interesting background ideas that I have for a hermit.
I’ve lived a long time, I’ve seen many things. My life was violence, then tranquility, then learning, then fear, I have seen it all. Now I have taken my seat, a place of rest, high above the lands where I can look down. They call me the wise one, though I have just lived more and am not truly wise. Those who seek my advice and knowledge must journey to see me, and I see them long before they get to me. From my vantage point I have watched the world change, and not for the better, I’ve looked into the horizon and seen a coming storm. My time to move has come again, but my body is loath to take up it’s old forms again. I have rested long enough though, when the time comes, I will be ready, so I make my way down the mountain to seek those who can join me in stopping the oncoming storm.
Alignment: Lawful or True Neutral
On the walls of my hovel hang trophies of a different time. A time where I was not a simple hunter away in the forest, a time where violence tried to consume me whole. I keep them on the walls to remind me of the rage that can consume me, but I do not want to pick them up again. I’ve lived a long while on my own, and life has been peaceful, but now my blood is boiling again. The rage that I have sought to keep in check is spilling out again. My peaceful little world is not something that I can sustain any more, and I do not want to taint it with blood. I pick up my axe from the wall, and I know it is time as it feels right in my hands. I will take my axe, but I will not use it as an all consuming violence, I will instead use it to do what I can to help others. I am the oncoming storm, I pray that I will not break.
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Comments: I really find this concept interesting, playing a character who is fighting against their own nature violence and trying to keep that in balance. Having them go off the deepend and then backing down in a future fight because they are worried it will happen again, that would be an interesting character. There’s also an Incredible Hulk like aspect to it.
I have listened for a long time. I’ve listened to nature, to the voices of the gods on the winds, in the rain, and through the animals. I sought to learn everything that I could from them and to hear the words that they may speak. It was not easy being patient, but that is what I was called to do. Before, when I was at the temple, I was too impetuous and too ready to act and act without thinking, so I was sent out to find patience. I did not find patience at first, I was ready to leave within a day and say that I had found patience. But as I sat and waited, I saw how the trees and grass grew with a focused deliberation, how animals, even though they frolic, did not waste any energy or movement. I finally found patience in year three, but I was not ready to leave, so I stayed, it has been four more years now, and I do not want to leave. But through the winds, the rains, the trees, the animals, the gods have spoken to me. They have told me of a hidden knowledge, more that I must learn that they cannot teach me. So I must return to the temple, and from there I can go seek this knowledge.
Alignment: Lawful Good/Neutral
I’ve heard voices in my head for a long time. They talk to me and eventually I was able to understand them. I was young, and what they were saying sounded tempting. They offered power, fame, money, but I didn’t consider the cost. I got those things, but only for a short period of time as what the voices had me do quickly got the attention of those who were stronger than me and able to stop me. I had no choice but to run, the voices weren’t pleased, and they stopped talking to me. I stayed hidden away in hopes that they wouldn’t talk to me again and for a long time they didn’t. My powers stopped as well, but recently they started talking to me again, and I learned that there was something scarier than them out in the world. I had to make a new deal with them, but my powers are back and I guess it’s my job to help save the world or at least warn the world.
Alignment: Lawful Evil/Chaotic Neutral
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!