Just curious, I started playing almost as soon as I picked up my PDF form RPGNOW but am I the only one stuck in the…

Just curious, I started playing almost as soon as I picked up my PDF form RPGNOW but am I the only one stuck in the…

Just curious, I started playing almost as soon as I picked up my PDF form RPGNOW but am I the only one stuck in the mindset of having keyed location dungeons? I am still getting my head around Fronts even though I can see they are a bullet form of sandlot adventures.

7 thoughts on “Just curious, I started playing almost as soon as I picked up my PDF form RPGNOW but am I the only one stuck in the…”

  1. I assume by “keyed location” you mean pre-drawn maps with key lists for what is in each room. There is nothing wrong with that as long as you also leave room for improvisation. The rule, “draw maps, leave blanks” as I understand it means to map it out as usual but leave some rooms with question marks and even corridors that show no end. These unknowns provide opportunity for you to ask questions and let the players answer with their own creative power.

    Fronts are really just a physical reminder of the dungeon as a whole, so that you have at a glance the “living” dungeon, where things take place (grim portents) as they would if the PCs weren’t there.

  2. Nothing wrong with keyed location maps, as long as you are prepared to change them on the fly. In fact, I find the easiest way is to steal bare maps from other RPG modules (notably pathfinder) and populate them with descriptions and people as the game progresses. If my front calls for a vampire in a ruined castle it is nice to have a map of a ruined castle handy. But reading RPG modules to me is a task, so I just use the maps. 

    Fronts are the GM’s overarching story line generators of your settings: The things that make life dangerous or at least interesting for your PC’s. The necromancer that usurped the throne. The goblin army on the north border. The spreading plague that seems to have a supernatural origin. On smaller scale (individual session ) it is the bounty hunter that comes for your fighter, the monster in the village well, or the guards that guard the bank you mean to rob.

    The PC’s actually contribute a lot, even most, to the story lines. 

    Grim portents are the signs your PC’s see that there are active fronts out there: The necromancer king; Zombies roam the streets at night. The goblin hordes: Farmers lose their stock, and hunting parties disappear. The plague: Whole villages die out over night. Etc. 

    Note that fronts only help to generate story lines. They are NOT story lines. You have to play to find out what happens. And that’s the big difference from other modern RPG’s. 

  3. Echoing these – I just tried out the Dark Heart of the Dreamer / Planarch Handbook strategy for semi-planned dungeons.

    I sketched a map of the main layout/corridors/rooms and listed the 3 biggest dangers they’ll face (undead, magical traps, and … I don’t know… feral animals that have taken shelter in here, knowing they can evade the shamblers). I’ll make a list of the things I want to show up from each front-like danger (zombies, larger flesh golems, powerful elf arcanist, BBEG + mooks; exploding runes on door, alarm, etc; diseased foxes).  I also decided on roughly how many would be in the dungeon; if I ran out of one, I started throwing the next bigger in the category at them. This way if they burn through all the zombie fodder they encounter stronger undead and then the BBEG that much sooner instead of just clearing predetermined room after predetermined room.

    Every time they enter a new area (or return to one after a long time) I rolled 2d6 for each of the dangers.

    6- there’s nothing from that category,

    7-8 there’s a regular strength version,

    9 it’s got +1 or an advantage or makes serious use of Horde,

    10 it’s +2 or one of the bigger threats,

    11 they’ve found the Biggest Worst Thing from that category,

    12 the Biggest Worst Thing has the advantage over them. 

  4. Having read these posts I went over the next part of the adventure which I hadn’t finalised and I saw rather quickly how to make a front of it, I had a danger I was throwing at them, quickly added in the grim portents I had been thinking about (with a short list of monsters they might encounter thanks Shawn) and an Impending Doom to cap it all off. So I still have a keyed location for the guys to find but I can have a fluid map with encounters based on the characters actions. Ta all.

  5. I’m easy. I’d like to finish the next part of the story as you wander a dismal swamp, but I’d also like to play a sword and sorcery game. Your choice. Bring stuff and let the guys decide.

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