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Thread: Alternatives to 'Dungeons'

  1. #11
      jaerdaph is offline
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    The catacombs and sewers under the city are a favorite of mine. So are haunted houses.

    Ship graveyards are a nice alternative too. And there's nothing cooler than exploring a derelict ship adrift at sea (or in space).
    jaerdaph
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  2. #12
      RobA is offline
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    Structures in hostile environments also work well to constrain players.

    - Underwater structure (base/temple)
    - Outer-space structure (space-station/ship)
    - extreme temperatures (desert structure/lava temple)

    -Rob A>

  3. #13
      jaerdaph is offline
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    Horror stories and horror roleplaying games often try to isolate the protagonists/PCs to build mood and atmosphere (and a sense of dread), so you could look to those as well for ideas. For example, bad weather is a good way to contain players in an area. A storm washes away the only bridge back to the mainland. The ferry to the island can't make the run in the storm. The highways and side roads are snowed under and haven't been plowed yet. The rain has made the dirt road out to the abandonned insane asylum impassable. Phone lines are down too. There's no cell signal up here.
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  4. #14
      rdanhenry is offline
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    Although this is an odd place to suggest it, if you want to limit the possibilities, don't map in advance (or rather, since this is impossible, use the sketchiest map possible). Whichever way the players decide to go, *there* is where the next planned encounter is (or the more appropriate of the planned possible encounters if you've included at least a little flexibility in your adventure plan). Some GMs do very well with this approach.

    Me, I figure the players can go where they want and if they choose to ignore the setting elements I had expected them to bite on, I'll just make up something else appropriate to the choices they make. If you are ready to wing it a little, curtailing player choice becomes less of an issue. It also depends on the players you have. If they are proactive, self-directing types, they will initiate action and you can just work out how the world responds to them. If the players are more passive, then you need to create planned adventures with specific ideas about how they will play out, but those players can largely be counted on to follow the adventure hooks with minimum herding. Now, if you have players who are just deliberately contrary, you need to herd them by tricking them into thinking that the direction you want them to take is actually what you least expect.

  5. #15
      Ascension is offline
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    I like that idea Dan. Sort of a point to point story no matter what happens. They go here or there and they still have to fight some bandits...nice.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


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  6. #16
    crohakon
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdanhenry View Post
    Me, I figure the players can go where they want and if they choose to ignore the setting elements I had expected them to bite on, I'll just make up something else appropriate to the choices they make. If you are ready to wing it a little, curtailing player choice becomes less of an issue.
    How I normally build my worlds / start my games is by creating the map of the over all area I will allow them to explore. For example, my current map is the North-Western part of a large continent. Also, it is the only part of the continent I have mapped. Within the map I have 7 "factions". Three human kingdoms, a forest area with wild "wood" elves, a mountain area with a dwarven kingdom, and a forest area with ogres. I use the mountains, oceans, wild elves, dwarves, and ogres to limit the party to the three human kingdoms. But aside from that, nothing is really planned. I have set in my mind the events that are taking part in the world. I allow the characters to interact and I have the world react to them.

    I start with a map of their starting location (city, village, wtc..) but all of the other cities and such are not mapped out until I know they are heading in that direction. Hell, I have even made basic maps of cities on the spot during games because the party took an un-expected change in direction.

    It helps that I DM for a group of mature gamers.

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