Friday, April 24, 2009

Descent into the Dungeon

After a full week of conf calls until 1am, I am ready for the weekend.

Earlier in the week, I was flipping through FFG’s website and I noticed a new release of their excellent Descent game. They plan to publish a Quest Compendium, which will be a collection of scenarios written by some well known names in the industry, including Monte Cook and Keith Baker.

I am a fan of the game, but I realize that it is a bit limited in that the characters are pre-made and there is limited growth opportunity. It plays a bit like a miniature game as a result. With all that said, it is still a fun game that provides an evening of dungeon crawling, and can serve as an introduction to more complex games.

In thinking about Descent, I have come to realize that of all the D&D adventures out there, I really like the big dungeons. The murder mysteries are fun, and the outdoor quests are interesting, and the small side dungeons or a ruined building are kinda neat, but what I like is the big multi-level dungeons with a castle ruin sitting on top. I like playing them, I like reading them, and I like refereeing them. There is just something about a big dungeon that resonates well with me. I remember the first time I played, and I was exploring a dungeon. It was the excitement of exploring knowing that something cool was right around the corner.

This brings me to the topic of magic. I am not a big fan of the well stocked magic store. The dungeon should be well stocked, but not the store. The idea that one can go into a store and buy all sorts of magic items, takes a bit of the mystique away. Dungeons should have a good assortment of magic items that are found frequent enough to keep the players engaged and wanting more. Magic serves as the ultimate reward for exploration. By putting magic in a shop, or allowing characters to create magic, takes some of the luster away. The magic does not glitter like magic should. The dungeon should be the place to find the magic, as it represents a descent into a realm where anything is possible, with luck finding favor with the well prepared.

I have a couple of additional ideas on this theme that I think I will post tomorrow.

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