Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dungeons in RPGs

So I've mentioned before I'm an "old school" role player, which isn't to say I only play older rpgs (when I play rpgs at all which is rarely) but I mean my mind is set in the way that RPGs where first conceived. I think there are a few different aspects that can classify you as an old school gamer but with RPGs I think the primary indicator is how you look at the dungeon.
 It feels to me that modern dungeon modules are on rails. They have a specific guided nature with few choices and almost seem to hold your hand. Maybe it's just my experiences though. I am not a fan of Pathfinder but everyone I know plays it and I play occasionally with a group who are playing with the Pathfinder Society rules and they use modules that fall in line with that system. These modules always feel small, linear, and a little less exciting than you'd expect things with titles like "The Frozen Temple" to be.

To my thinking, and how I run, is that the dungeon exists and the players are invading it. There is no clear path through it, all of it is dangerous, and the players are going to have to figure out how to loot it without dying...or dying as little as possible.
Dark Souls and it's predecessor and sequel both tap into this. The world exists regardless of the character you play and it is not going to be gentle to your invasion. I think role playing dungeons should be the same. They should be built with excitement, danger, and treasure in mind. Let the players find it. Stop holding their hands. Give them a sword, a spell, and a torch and let them be either wildly successful or just lucky survivors. 

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