Monday, August 09, 2010

On Combat and Exploration

Many see the primary activity in D&D as combat. It is said that D&D is about "killing things and taking they're stuff." I see it differently, as my favorite activity is exploration and I see that as the primary activity. Combat is something that often happens while exploring dungeons, but is not the only activity that adventurers engage in, in fact it can often be not the best solution or even counter productive, especially when facing a superior foe.

What made me think about this is the rather awesome, but also very long, combat that occurred in the latest session of my D&D campaign. In many ways it reminded me of my experiences in playing 4th Edition wherein combat is a very significant part of the game, certainly the central aspect, and also debatably more important than in other editions of D&D. This is part of why so many dislike that version of D&D and certainly why I prefer other versions myself. Despite what some have said though, it is not because 4th edition lacks "non-combat rules". In fact with the advent of the skill challenge it can be said to have more rules for non-combat than any other version of D&D. I personally do not believe that having many rules for non-combat is necessarily even desirable. In many cases having a few simple rules will serve better, as more complex rules may in fact bog down the game.

There are many aspects of the topic of D&D as a game of exploration that I could discuss. These include the role of mapping in making exploration more interesting, how many empty rooms should be included in a good dungeon, the use of tricks and traps, and many other things. Perhaps I will discuss those in further blog entries.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

the Shattered Empire: Session 3

This session was dominated by an epic battle against the enemy goblin tribe. Before that they fought them they did explore one not particularly notable room. It had a puddle of water and moss, but they thought for sure that something was going to pop out and get them. But there wasn't anything there.

So then they decided to attack the goblins. Shortly before they arrived they met up with a trio of orcs from the goblin tribe they had allied with. They asked that they be allowed to participate in the attack on the enemy tribe. The players agreed and asked that they go up front. "More glory for us!" the orcs responded.

When the party rounded the corner they saw two goblin sentries. With a cry of "Bree-yark" they called for they're tribemates and attacked. However they were quickly overwhelmed. Unfortunately the fighter from the north got too ahead of the rest of the group. When the rest of the goblins arrived he was facing them all without his allies. The rest of the group followed behind and were quickly confronted by the leader of the goblins and soon after that more of his people. The goblin got in a good sneak attack against the cleric, but got a few good hits against himself as well. He then retreated behind his minions. Meanwhile the goblins in the northern passage had surrounded the northerner and had dealt several telling blows, though he had killed a few of them before he went down. He was bleeding to death, but one of they're orcish allies pulled him away from the melee so he could be healed, while the other finished off the goblins. The other group was also slowly worn down. The leader attempted to deliever a sneak attack, but failed and was slain, dispite the effort of one of his minions to revive him with a healing potion. Then the remaining goblins were finished off.

End result was that seventeen enemies were down without any fatalities though there were a couple of close calls. The loot amounted to just under five hundred silver pieces plus the gear of the goblins which they gave to they're goblin allies. The session finished with the players attending a celebration thrown by the goblins because of they're defeat of they're enemies.