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General Taking the "Dungeons" out of D&D

Reynard

Legend
One other point that occurs to me: neither the players nor the PCs know going in whether "the adventure" lies in the travel, the destination, or both; meaning where practical travel should probably be handled much the same way every time so as not to tip any info.
In a perfect world of limitless gaming time, sure, but as a practical matter it's perfectly reasonable for groups to prioritize the "fun" but (whatever that means to the group in question, which of course could be the travel). Also players aren't necessarily passive recipients of the DM's plans. Players are entitled to preferences, one of which could be "can we skip the travel?"
 

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Asisreo

Archdevil's Advocate
Alright, that's certainly a claim you can hold. To support that claim, you should now present an argument for how a warlock with two fireballs per short rest is balanced against a wizard with five fireballs per long rest, over the course of a single large encounter. If you can't, then that's pretty strong evidence that your claim isn't true.
I've finished my claim on a different thread. For those interested in specifically talking about the adventuring day, we can continue the conversation there.


Travel time is the same as downtime, imo. Now, I can make travel an adventure, but if I don't, this is the time for the players to start crafting magic items or other gear they may find useful.
 


Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Moria's not a great comparison to most "dungeon-delving" in D&D. The PCs (ie, the Fellowship) were trying to get through it not explore it. Totally different motivation for the party, feel of the adventure, and outcome.

Now, if they were dwarfs returning to Moria to try to reclaim it - then that would be a dungeon crawl.

I'll think more though on the intent of the OP around how to de-center dungeon-crawling. But then as said in a post right above, the game stops being D&D. Maybe change it to E&E - Ettins and Explorations. Or S&S - Slaads and Socializing.
 


Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
In a perfect world of limitless gaming time, sure, but as a practical matter it's perfectly reasonable for groups to prioritize the "fun" but (whatever that means to the group in question, which of course could be the travel). Also players aren't necessarily passive recipients of the DM's plans. Players are entitled to preferences, one of which could be "can we skip the travel?"
D&D is, in part, a game about resource management - you manage your hp, your spell slots, your rations and healing potions...

But the most important resource is player time. So you are right - most of the game should be spent doing fun things.
 



Make everyone easier to kill (including PCs). You can't do extensive dungeon crawls if a single sword stroke can kill you. So don't increase HP for anyone, ever (except maybe a minor, minor boost if you want to reflect increasing toughness), and it will play more like game of thrones.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Make everyone easier to kill (including PCs). You can't do extensive dungeon crawls if a single sword stroke can kill you. So don't increase HP for anyone, ever (except maybe a minor, minor boost if you want to reflect increasing toughness), and it will play more like game of thrones.
At this point.... play a different system. Warhammer 2nd ed is very good. Another good one which is closer to D&D would be the GLOG.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Make everyone easier to kill (including PCs). You can't do extensive dungeon crawls if a single sword stroke can kill you. So don't increase HP for anyone, ever (except maybe a minor, minor boost if you want to reflect increasing toughness), and it will play more like game of thrones.
I don't think making them easier to kill has much to do with it, at least not for me. I almost never use dungeons per se since I run event based campaigns but the PC's lives are regularly on the line anyway. The local thieve's guild is at least as dangerous as some long lost dwarven keep.

I'd suggest reading the section of the DMG on location based campaigns vs event based campaigns if you want a better understanding of what the difference in campaign styles is.
 

Asisreo

Archdevil's Advocate
D&D is, in part, a game about resource management - you manage your hp, your spell slots, your rations and healing potions...

But the most important resource is player time. So you are right - most of the game should be spent doing fun things.
D&D is not a resource management game. D&D can be a resource management game if the DM desires, but there can be more aspects to a challenging D&D game than forcing resource management. And no, the game is not balanced as a resource management game, either.

Which is good. Not all D&D players want to play a resource management game.
 

I don't think making them easier to kill has much to do with it, at least not for me. I almost never use dungeons per se since I run event based campaigns but the PC's lives are regularly on the line anyway. The local thieve's guild is at least as dangerous as some long lost dwarven keep.

I'd suggest reading the section of the DMG on location based campaigns vs event based campaigns if you want a better understanding of what the difference in campaign styles is.
My point is one of the reasons you have characters gaining large numbers of HP over the course of levels, is because it allows for things like more prolonged dungeon crawls and more fights with epic monsters. If you want to bring the game down to a more grounded and gritty style, stories like Game of Thrones, which the OP referenced, flattening out HP so anyone can be killed by the stab of a knife, achieves that. When combat is that much more lethal, people are reluctant to resort to combat as a first measure, and more likely to engage in intrigue and subterfuge. I am sure there are other ways to make D&D play to different styles. But the OP wanted to know what to change or remove from the game to get a particular feel, and changing HP is an obvious and effective way to do that.
 

At this point.... play a different system. Warhammer 2nd ed is very good. Another good one which is closer to D&D would be the GLOG.
Sure, I usually do play different systems for this reason. But lots of people like the hack systems. And there is nothing wrong with changing mechanics in D&D to get the effect you want. Personally I enjoy doing that with all kinds of systems.

I don't like Warhammer though, it just never struck a chord with me as a system or game. But yes there are plenty of great RPGs with more flat HP that will achieve this. If you don't mind cobbling, which I don't, and which the OP seemed to hint at when they asked what we might alter or take out of D&D to get this style of play, then hacking how HP function is a great way to tinker with the game to get this kind of result. Don't want dungeon crawls, keep 1st level HP throughout the entire game, for everyone.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
D&D is not a resource management game.
D&D is supposed to be a resource management game, at least in part; and that it isn't any more is due to a series of poor design decisions over the years and editions. For example...

And no, the game is not balanced as a resource management game, either.
... this.

There was a time when balance was achieved in part by some classes being able to have great effect a limited number of times a day (e.g. blast-casters who needed to manage their spell resources) and other classes being able to have lesser effects but keep at it for much longer (front-line warrior types whose only resource concern was hit points).

Now that casters can also keep going almost as long as they like (via cantrips) that balance option is largely neutered.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Sure, I usually do play different systems for this reason. But lots of people like the hack systems. And there is nothing wrong with changing mechanics in D&D to get the effect you want. Personally I enjoy doing that with all kinds of systems.

I don't like Warhammer though, it just never struck a chord with me as a system or game. But yes there are plenty of great RPGs with more flat HP that will achieve this. If you don't mind cobbling, which I don't, and which the OP seemed to hint at when they asked what we might alter or take out of D&D to get this style of play, then hacking how HP function is a great way to tinker with the game to get this kind of result. Don't want dungeon crawls, keep 1st level HP throughout the entire game, for everyone.
The GLOG is a hacked D&D system :)


HP at level 1 is con-6 (low con heroes ... don't make it). as you increase in levels, your HP goes up by 2 per level - a few classes get a few more hp. 20 hp would be an exceptionally tough hero. The magic system is fun and innovative too.

This particular version is a bit concerned with the intricacies of feudal societies, but you can ignore that if you wish.
 

The GLOG is a hacked D&D system :)


HP at level 1 is con-6 (low con heroes ... don't make it). as you increase in levels, your HP goes up by 2 per level - a few classes get a few more hp. 20 hp would be an exceptionally tough hero. The magic system is fun and innovative too.

This particular version is a bit concerned with the intricacies of feudal societies, but you can ignore that if you wish.
I am not familiar with GLOG. It might be what the person is after. And if they want a convenient handy solution, that may be a good choice. But doing it yourself is rewarding. Even if someone has covered similar ground, you might end up in a slightly different place than they do. And it is just generally fun and engaging.
 

pming

Adventurer
Hiya!

My idea would be to add-in some sort of "level rating" for being a member of "politics, society, religion, family, and all that stuff". I know there are the 'rules' for Factions, but I'm thinking something a little more in-depth. Something that gives the Players a means of attaining "points" for leveling up, and upon gaining a new 'level' in something (church hierarchy, clan leadership, etc), they get some kind of bonus/perk based on their Class.

IMNSHO, you can't "just remove dungeons" from D&D and expect the game to run as expected. The majority of the drive and XP system is based around "adventuring"....which basically means killing monsters and taking their stuff, usually in a dungeon. So you would NEED to replace that game-mechanic reward system with something else.

Gamma World 3rd (and 2nd edition, the only two I'm really familiar with) had your regular "Rank" (PC level) but it also had a "Rank" for your characters Community. You gained "Status Points" that indicated how favoured, trusted, and important you were to your home community, or any community (you had a separate 'status rank' for different communities). The advantages of Status in a community was that you could get help, borrow rare equipment, get free supplies/food/water, and generally be more influential in the community. It really did add a rather important part to a post-apocalyptic setting where even GRASS wants to teleport into your stomach to kill and eat you! It made Players actually develop feelings for a village, town or even outpost. The NPC's in them became important to the Players and their PC's.

Something like that would need to be done to replace the "DING! That last ogre put me over! I'm now 5th level...sweet! New spell coming!". In stead of "personal power gain", it would need to be "outside influence gain", so that the Players and their PC's become invested in WANTING to help or oppose various 'groups/communities' in the game world. Otherwise, they would feel like they don't matter and are just, well, murder hobo's. Litterally.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
One place where I think D&D could feel more like other flavors of fantasy is if there was a lot more non combat magic built into the game. Certainly if wizards can make wands of fireball they can make magically warm blankets. Surely if they can summon demons from the pits of Hell they can summon air elementals to ventilate mine shafts. Magic with which to cook and clean and other domestic tasks.
Something along those lines was the topic of a thread last month...
 

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