Classic Dungeons and Dragons and Old School Gaming

D&D etc.

"Heir to a crumbling summit: to a sea of nettles: to an empire of rust: to rituals' footprints ankle-deep in stone."

-Mervyn Peake

"...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped."

-Sir Bedevere in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

nine copper rats with beer and pretzels

I read recently, really wish I could remember where, a blog where the writer was comparing really creative DMs campaigns to DM's that run more straight dungeon crawls, and how the straight dungeon crawls lend themselves more to Players creatively messing with stuff and generating crazy situations, while in the games with more idiosyncratic or creative DMs the players tend to sit back and let the crazy come to them.

There are a lot of variables there, like the players have to be the kind of players that will experiment and the DM has to give them something to work with, but I wonder if with a halfway decent DM and and least one or two creative and/or excitable players in the mix a good game can be had by all?  Do we put to much emphasis on creativity is really what I'm asking.

With music, there are those who strive to play something new and push boundaries and there are those who show up, play the same three or four chords that everybody has been playing forever and do it with feeling.  It seems like most of the OSR is in that second group, and I think that's OK.

Don't get me wrong, creativity is probably the major draw to DMing and playing D&D, but maybe a good dungeon or adventure only needs a few really creative bits for it to be fun, The players fight some stuff, find the moving parts, move 'em, make some jokes about it and that's a good game!

Hitchcock said something like all you really need to make a good movie are two or three really memorable scenes (something like that).  Maybe a good dungeon really just needs two or three good original monsters, two or three good traps or rooms and two or three really unique treasures.  The rest can be rats and coppers, and that leaves plenty of room for the players to do stuff the DM never imagined (and for the DM to imagine on the spot).  The rats reciting Shakespeare or the copper pieces that are evil and telepathic or whatever would fit in here quite well.

on another note:
Why aren't there more fireplaces in dungeons?  Climbing down the chimney seems like a great way to sneak into the wizard's lab/kobold's lair/dungeon mistresses bedchamber.   How bout bathrooms?  There aren't a lot of bathrooms (because they're boring)  But maybe bathrooms and their associated bodily functions can be made into great fodder for DnD, like, if a stone giant has the runs what you get is medieval concrete.


What IS this?


  1. Google Tranlate says some sort of sheep/ram creature.
    'resti di montone' is italian for 'remains of mutton'

    I wonder if there is some forced perspective to make it seem like a dragon's head.

  2. Possible all dungeons need sewers, air vents, garbage dumps or monster janitors. My players poisoned dark elf food by sneaking through a waste pit. Bad air would be common in deep tombs. Abandoned expansions and diy projects should abound too. The kobold on a 30 ft chain is the upmarket 10 ft pole for stuff like this. Ive dreamed of strip mining a dungeon like rabbit hunters or open cut miners. Block all holes, pump in smoke with bellows. Kill whatever tries to escape then excavate. Build a shanty town or fort on top.

  3. That head is interesting.

    I find it hard to "fit" everything I would assume a dungeon would need at times.

    If the players need to know that sort of info, I guess I could create it on the fly. I tend to be a "from the hip" kind of Gamemaster.