Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Deal Me Another Hand, Frank.

One of the problems that seems to occur more often in modern gaming modules than in older one is the problem of static monsters; in other words, if there is an orc in room b6 then no matter how much noise your players make there will always be that orc in 6b.  Your players could take a pick axe to the wall, blow holes in the fabric of reality with earth shattering wails that tear at their sanity and deafen everyone in a twelve mile radius and that orc will still be in 6b. His brother could be flayed alive, screaming his name, and that son-of-a-bitch will still be in 6 fucking b!

Over the years I have read countless opinions on the subject and it always comes down to a blame game. Bad Dungeon Masters blame game designers for not providing them with an efficient module that expressly details what each monster will do in the myriad of possible situations that happen during actual play. While terrible game designers will loudly complain that everyone playing their module must be an idiot because clearly they’re unable to run a good game.

Forget that noise.

Instead of complaining you should do something about the problem at hand. Your monsters should be active participants in the game reacting to the actions of the players. If the players are breaking down walls and causing a huge ruckus then the monsters should be working together to set ambushes that mess those kids up



  1. I blame the Lazy Game Master and the sense that you can just grab a module, whip out the dice and the characters, and run 'till you drop. The truly serious Game Master takes the map and a circle protractor, sits down with the module's map, and figures out how far the hearing range of a goblin is, or a lich, or an Owlbear and draws radii to KNOW if something will hear activity. Then the characters learn to be quiet and sneaky and not disturb the sleeping of monsters. I have little tolerance for lazy GM's.

    1. I'll be honest, I've never once thought about sound carrying through a dungeon and said, "I need my protractor."

      But the thought has merit.


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