Now we’re getting towards the edges of the races you can play in Dungeons and Dragons from the main Players Handbook. There are additional races or race options in other books. I’m going to call out some Tiefling things are from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. […]
Tag: Wizards of the Coast
There’s no place like Gnome, there’s no place like Gnome. Alright, now that my bad joke is out of my system, let’s talk about Gnomes in Dungeons and Dragons. Gnomes, as you can guess, are very small. They are between 3-4′ tall and because of […]
Time to make a huge game. I think that there are a lot of interesting things that you could do with this idea, including something a long ways out there, which is have it played with multiple groups.
In this game the different planes, fire, earth, prime material, hell, abyss, fey wild, and everything else, they are all being beset upon by an outside force, a massive massive outside force that is probably controlling one or some of them already and having them branch out against the others.
So in this game you pick different realms, probably fey wild, Sword Coast, Eberron, and whatever else you want and you start playing games in each of them where there are forces, maybe the elemental plane of fire and the abyss have been overrun by whatever this great force is, some evil deity most likely, that is bending them to their will. Have the players then deal with the threats showing up in their worlds.
Build this story up for some time that something is wrong in the abyss or the plane of fire, but don’t really let on that there is a big bad guy, think that it’s something smaller that is causing the unrest. Eventually have this dark force and their own army also show up in the realm. And here is where you might want to have one combined game for all the groups to spring the big reveal on them. Have this force s how up on all of their planes, and they all get transported to some pocket dimension or something like that where this being is controlling everything from. Then have there be a prophecy, but not one of those impossibly vague prophecies, but something something as specific that they basically have to find the pieces of Voltron or some god killing weapon, or even Dragon Balls.
Then you split back up and make the games take similar paths, but searching for this thing in their own realm. And they shouldn’t really be able to interact with the other realms. Once each group has found their piece of the weapon, come back to together for a final epic battle.
I’d really recommend doing a set piece for this epic battle. As I think having loads of monsters around that the players aren’t really fighting, but are kind of set dressing, but there should be some generals that each group of players need to take out to fight their way to the evil deity. Then some players are going to have to do a challenge to get the weapon assembled while the others are fighting off all sorts of monsters. The big thing is that they can’t do damage to this deity without the weapon and the weapon is a one shot kill. So once they’ve gotten the weapon assembled, and you can do some interesting things with that, like them having to cast spells, deal with things in their minds that the deity might be doing to them, more than just roll a dexterity tinkering check. The other players can then be fighting off hordes and hordes of monsters, and make it cinematic and let them hit more than one thing with a swing, so minion type monsters that just pop, but also can pack a punch if they actually get to attack.
Then once the weapon is ready, take your DM control back, and basically narrate what happens. I wouldn’t let it kill the deity, something that kills a deity besides another deity is too powerful, but it could banish him to a prison dimension, where he had been banished before, but had escaped from, or had been banished for a million years. The weapon should fall apart and Dragon Ball it out of there in it’s separate parts.
That’s where the campaign ends. I would pitch this when you are starting out in sessions zeros as an epic game that is going to be fought for the fate of all the planes. Hopefully every group will be in on the game, but really lean into that this is going to be bigger and more epic than other games. Also, with that, really let the players be heroes. As a DM, you should try and avoid having characters die in this game. Also, try and limit plane hopping, I’d maybe allow conversation to happen after that mid point of the game, but traveling between planes might be locked down by either the evil deity, or by good deities to prevent the spread of the evil deity. Definitely make this game big, and I also wouldn’t make this game all that long. Power level your characters up, getting them to the mid levels by the mid point of the game, and then let them have level 20 for the epic fight, But this game doesn’t have a ton of variety, so having them level up fast, almost as chosen ones, would make the characters seem really powerful.
I also know that I said, don’t kill off the characters die in this game. The last session, that is out the window. If a character actually die dies, that’s fine, that’s the epic end, in fact, there should be a chance that everyone dies. At level 20, if it seems too easy, have plans to bump up monsters, add in different tougher monsters, add in lair effects and other hazards for the players, make it difficult on them, make them use up resources to get to the final skill challenge, and make them use resources there. Maybe the weapon needs some magic items put into it to power it, make them spend stuff that they’ve got. Maybe they need to load some spell slots into it, take away resources, and make them spend resources to get there, this should be tough. I’d give the deity a way to interact with them throughout the whole battle, so they might be fighting the deity’s generals, but the deity is also causing them problems with large area effect spells and stuff like that, make it work for what you need, even if it “breaks” the D&D rules.
So what do you think of this game? Do you think it could be cool to run something this epic, or is it too simple and combat focused?
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Let’s go back to the beginning where we talked about what a dungeon in Dungeons and Dragons is.. A dungeon in Dungeons and Dragons is normally seen as a festering hole in the ground, like you’d end up with in classic games. Instead it really […]
We’ve had some traps in our dungeons, we’ve got monsters wandering around and patrolling, but what about puzzles. It’s fairly iconic as we get in Lord of the Rings Gandalf puzzling out which direction to go in the Mines of Moria, and also sitting outside […]
Next thing we’re going to look at with your dungeon is to look at the ecology of your dungeon. I talked about it a little bit in the what is your dungeon, but it used to be that dungeons would have all sorts of monsters living together with random traps thrown in, in a way that would kill the monsters if they actually had left their rooms where apparently they had an infinite supply of food and water.
So instead you have to plan out your dungeon to make sense. Though, there is an easy way to make an old school dungeon, and that’s with four simple words: “A wizard did it.”. That will get you out of jail free when your dungeon doesn’t make sense. But that only works in some situations. A lot of the time you’re going to be building a dungeon for a specific reason. Maybe it’s an old abandoned temple that is hidden away in the jungle. Having ice monsters in there isn’t going to make sense. You’re going to want to have something like Yuan-ti in there, and they can be bossing around another race. Or maybe it’s in a volcano, well, then fire elementals are probably going to play a big roll in the dungeon.
But it could be boring to just have one type of monster in the dungeon, and I agree with that. If I was playing in a dungeon, I wouldn’t want to run into a fire elemental in one room, then two in the next room, and one after that, then an empty room, and so on and so forth until I reached my goal.
Instead, start by thinking about if there is a big bad in your dungeon? Is there a boss monster that your players are going to have to fight? If there is, who is that guy, is it a demon? Is it a Mind Flayer? Is it a mad wizard? All of those are going to have a different group of monsters working for them. You might, for example, run into lesser demons or even weaker creatures like goblins that the demon has conscripted to guard the upper levels. Then maybe the further in you go, you run across a demon who is in charge of the goblins and imps who is a mid point battle. From there on, you face a mixture of demons of various powers and a few goblins thrown in until you finally face the big boss demon at the end of the dungeon who is most likely doing some evil plot when you get there so you have to stop them from being able to do it.
Another example with the mind flayer, you’d be looking at Underdark creatures, such as Duegar and Drow who would be being controlled by the mind flayer. You might even run into a band of Githyanki or Githzerai who might want to stop the mind flayer as well, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be an encounter, just might not be combat. Eventually you’ll probably have a situation where you have to sneak around a bunch of mind flayers to get to the elder brain or the main mind flayer leading the charge to disband the other group. But since this is the underdark, which is almost a dungeon onto itself, you can also use natural monsters down there. Various oozes and slimes might be clinging to the wall. A cloaker might be off in the shadows waiting for the next unsuspecting drow or adventuring party to come by.
You can start to see how you can build out a dungeon that really has a theme and feel to it. In fact, that’s one good way to start with a mad wizard dungeon, what sort of theme would they have put in it. Maybe they have it elemental themed and each floor has a different type of elemental in it and the traps are built so that they aren’t an issue to the elemental type on that floor.
But there are also some dungeons that don’t have a big boss in them, or if they do, it isn’t because someone has set this up. The examples above, all of them are probably something that’s been tailored to the group in them. But what happens in the example of the abandoned temple? There isn’t some big bad Yuan-ti in there who set this up to be great for snake people? It was most likely a human or Elven temple from a long time ago. So you have to start to think about how they are going to be using the place. Maybe they’ve only cleared the first few levels of the dungeons because the traps later on are just too nasty. So you’re going to have to deal with them early, but eventually the dungeon will be “safer” or less monster filled, until maybe you get past those really bad traps.
In the example above, it’s possible that the ecology even changes part way through. Maybe the original owners of the temple left some construct monsters further down. Or maybe something is also coming up from the bottom (or down from the top) of the dungeon. Or maybe instead of constructs, there are a group of Drow who are using it for some dark ritual, but it’s easier for you to get to them by going down through the temple, through the Yuan-ti, through the traps, as compared to searching the underdark with it’s dangers and maybe finding what you’re looking for in time.
Hopefully it’s starting to make sense how you can use a dungeon in your game and have it be a part of a bigger story of the world and of your game. By having a more tightly built dungeon you don’t have to have it be a random wizard, but you can tailor it specifically to the spot in your world that you want the dungeon to be and build it to a specific theme, monster, or boss, whatever your game needs.
Have you made a dungeon with a really cool theme or some really cool monsters? Tell us about them in the comments below.
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