I tried to use my variant of the Labyrinth move last Friday, and despite my players suffering various debilities, they rolled spectacularly and the “maze” was only two rooms long, somewhat anticlimactic. I hereby present a revision of my magic item in the hopes that it could create a better scene for you (or me in the future)!
Her Greedy Skull (v2)
This fetid face belonged to the only thief who successfully burgled the Sea-Vault of the Faded Dwarves. Even in death, the halfling’s face lights up with avarice when dwarven treasure is nearby.
When you navigate the labyrinthine vault, describe how you do so, and roll+stat.
[STR] Clearing broken/stuck doors, fallen pillars and stone from your path?
[DEX] Crossing narrow ledges, or semi-flooded, slippery chambers?
[CON] Swimming through flooded rooms, corridors, or climbing exhaustingly tall/wide expanses?
[INT] Deciphering rune carvings to determine the district, or studying architectural layout, to then infer the best possible path to the primary vault?
[WIS] Keeping your bearings and being aware of sights, sounds and smells to determine a safe path toward the centre, even if it means sometimes moving away from your goal, like negotiating a maze?
[CHA] Petitioning the spirits of the dead, the elements or the gods to usher you toward your goal?
Ventilation Shaft & Feeder Tunnels
Draperies Against Damps
Fish Farm Inlet
Toilets (Connected to Mushroom Pasture)
Primary & Lesser Treasure Vaults (Inc. Cellars, Pantries)
Mining Gear Room
Grand Temple and Lesser Shrines
No Libraries (books rot), Runes on Every Wall instead. (Random graffiti and news beside pertinent advice relevant to each area)
On a 10+, one more of the skull’s orifices glow, showing you are on the right path.
On a 7-9, one more of the skull’s orifices begins to glow just as you turn a corner to face a Vault Guardian.
On a 6-, a Vault Guardian blocks your path, and the skull goes completely dark in fear. Vault guardians draw substance from the very walls, and create new walls to trap and confuse intruders.
For every light in the skull, describe a treasure near enough to take for yourself. Should you do so, that light is extinguished as the skull realises it is lost to her.
When there are three lights in the skull, you can see the door to the great safe, just at the edge of your light, behind a terrifying Vault Guardian. There is another tempting treasure much closer…describe how much it resembles one of your oldest dreams.
One thought on “I tried to use my variant of the Labyrinth move last Friday, and despite my players suffering various debilities,…”
Matt Horam, hey I just saw this and really like how your magic item works. I wanted to share my own thoughts about the Labyrinth move. #1, I think it’s brilliant mechanically, but #2 I think it can provide an excellent means of narrative control. I had a similar instance where a couple really good rolls ended things quickly, but here’s what I did:
I finished up my “Strahd’s Salvation” campaign a while back, and used the Lab move for exploring Castle Ravenloft:
///// Version 1.0
When you search Castle Ravenloft for Strahd von Zarovich, describe your path and how you search, and roll + STAT. The GM will tell you which STAT to use based on your description.
12+, Hold 2
10-11, Hold 1
7-9, Hold 1, plus Ravenloft Encounter
4-6, Ravenloft Encounter
3-, Strahd Encounter, plus lose all Hold
Any time you are not engaged in an encounter you may spend 1 Hold to discover a Ravenloft Treasure (describe the room you found it in) or 4 Hold to find Strahd for a final showdown (describe the room you found him in, and how you were able to track him here).
BUT the first two rolls were 12+ and they were able to find Strahd VERY quickly (like your example).
So I asked my players if that was satisfying to them and they all said no. I asked if I was to rewrite it a bit if they’d want to try again, throwing out their initial success. They all agreed, and we set the STAT to INT (in this case, the PC’s were all Strahd’s allies trying to end the curse on Barovia, so it made sense that they’d all be familiar with the castle, and INT was a good roll. We also discussed using WIS as a “figure out where you’re going” stat, but stuck with INT for this playthrough). So I altered the trigger as follows:
////// Version 1.1
When you use your knowledge of Castle Ravenloft to search for Strahd von Zarovich, roll + INT.
RESULTS DIDN’T CHANGE
Any time you are not engaged in an encounter you may spend 1 Hold to take a Ravenloft Treasure or 4 Hold to find Strahd for a final showdown (describe the room you found him in, and how you were able to track him here).
Basically all I did was move the narration portion of the roll from the trigger to the result, and the move triggered with statements like “The library is this way, we should see if he’s there” and ” Let’s check the balcony” or “Let’s head down to the catacombs this way”. The first roll with version 1.1 was AGAIN 12+, but this is how I handled it:
“As a group, narrate how you move through three areas of Castle Ravenloft, along with any minor enemies you find there, and how you dispatch them. After each area, pause because I may interrupt”.
That interrupt was key because it was the players “looking to me to see what happens”, allowing me to give a little bit of narration myself and make soft moves, most of which were Change the environment and Present riches at a price (Riches being Ravenloft Treasures, and the price being 1 of their Hold), but I also used Make them backtrack once.
So on that first roll of 12+ they got 2 Hold, narrated 3 rooms and some enemies they annihilated, but also spent 1 hold on a spell book the Wizard found (Ravenloft Treasure) in the second room.
The next roll was a 10, so they got 1 Hold, narrated 1 more room a vampire spawn, and then spent THAT hold on a 250 year-old tapestry depicting a scene with Strahd and all of the characters triumphant after a battle, because the bard character loved collecting bits of history that she was involved in.
So version 1.1 worked a lot better for our table and we had a lot of fun “exploring” Castle Ravenloft.
Long post, I hope it’s useful to someone LOL
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