D&D (2024) What could One D&D do to bring the game back to the dungeon?

Reynard

Legend
It's not threadcrapping. That's how you get people back into the dungeon: rethinking what the dungeons should be in the modern era.
See, that is a good start to a conversation, as opposed to
Making the dungeon a place players want to go instead of just a pain like everyone trying to lure us into the dungeon want it to be?

So, that out of the way, what do you think "dungeons should be in the modern era"?
 

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Shiroiken

Legend
Very little would be needed, as 5E already does a decent job for dungeon crawls. Primarily it should consolidate the damn rules! The rules needed are scattered all over the DMG and PHB, which is why most people feel they don't exist. Darkvision isn't as much of a problem when you realize that -5 on your Passive Perception and disadvantage on Perception checks means you're likely going to miss all the traps and secret doors, plus you'll get ambushed more frequently. Light being a cantrip is only an issue because the Cleric has so few useful cantrips, but adding Concentration would probably make it a non-factor.

The biggest actual change would be in how to use Passive Perception/Investigation. If you simply compare flat numbers, as JC claims, the mechanic just doesn't work. Either the party is going to succeed or fail from the moment the adventure begins, barring them getting advantage or disadvantage. Currently 1D&D is requiring actions for checks, meaning Passive skills are going away, and I feel that's probably the way to go. If they keep Passive for secret checks, I'd recommend using the Mike Mearls method (which I currently use) of having the trap/door/whatever make the roll against the Passive score.

Travel activities need a change and made meaningful. Making a map is easy and either has no benefit or completely negates the navigation activity. I'd also separate watching for danger into looking for enemies and looking for traps/secret doors.

Time needs to be more easily tracked. The current setup is fine, but a suggestion to consolidate it into manageable segments would be good. I use 1 minute increments for a lot of nuance, but 5 minutes and 10 minutes would also work well. This plays into the time for resting and wandering monsters, which needs to be better address. Putting the environments with the monsters would be helpful in this regard, along with the full lists.

Other than that, I don't think they need to do that much to make 5E work great for dungeon crawls. The real issue with getting D&D "back to the dungeon" is that players don't really want that as much anymore. Having an occasional dungeon crawl is fine, but there's a reason DM's like the 5 room dungeon concept. I personally love dungeon crawls, but my group is kinda meh about them.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
See, that is a good start to a conversation, as opposed to
This is unnecessary. Stop.
So, that out of the way, what do you think "dungeons should be in the modern era"?
Let's start with what a dungeon is. Is it pretty much an adventure location, or is it specifically a the inexplicable big hole in the ground filled with monsters?

I think there's a serious lack of fantastic locations going around these days. Not in vision, not in function. It's mostly just holes and corridors. Big setpieces the players can screw around with, moving parts, things to climb on, etc. Exploration should be more about exploring.

I remember Kobold Hall, with the big glue pool and the Indiana Jones boulder you could run on or find a way to push and want more of that and less logistics.
 


Reynard

Legend
This is unnecessary. Stop.

Let's start with what a dungeon is. Is it pretty much an adventure location, or is it specifically a the inexplicable big hole in the ground filled with monsters?
I don't think you need a hole in the ground for it to be a dungeon, but not every adventure location is a dungeon. A city isn't a dungeon, nor is a castle serving as an actual castle. But a dark forest of twisting paths and clearings can be a dungeon, as could a graveyard of spelljammer hulks in Astral Space.
. Exploration should be more about exploring.
I agree but I think we differ on what that word means and implies in play.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
A city isn't a dungeon, nor is a castle serving as an actual castle.
Why not?

Imagine having to fight invading cultists that have infiltrated the castle in a Die Hard situation. The servants are all being forced to continue business as usual, so you have to maneuver around and protect them while searching for where they've set up the Portal of Very Bad Things.

Or the City! Didn't the Arkham games show how a city can be a massive explorable space with thins to do? The group has to parkour across roofs, square off in a park, climbing on statues to avoid drakes that have been attracted here by the local crimeboss.

Is a 'dungeon' something inherently linear? Enclosed? Abandoned? What makes a dungeon a dungeon?
I agree but I think we differ on what that word means and implies in play.
To me it means getting to do and discover things; investigation and puzzle solving. It irks me when these things are cast aside for inventory management and death spiral mechanics.
 


If every edition needs to go "back to the dungeon" that clearly indicates that something about either the D&D player ecology or publisher ecology really doesn't want to be in the dungeon in the first place, so they're constantly trying to escape it, only to be wrangled back in by back to the dungeon absolutists who refuse to see the game evolve. At least that's my analysis for why this topic has come up over and over again since the pre-3e motto at least. Don't get me wrong; there's always been a significant plurality of dungeon-preferers. But ever since Tracy Hickman showed up at TSR and busted the bank on sales by leaving the dungeon, everyone really needs to come to terms with the fact that there's also a very significant plurality if not outright majority of demand for non-dungeon D&D.
 
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Reynard

Legend
Why not?

Imagine having to fight invading cultists that have infiltrated the castle in a Die Hard situation. The servants are all being forced to continue business as usual, so you have to maneuver around and protect them while searching for where they've set up the Portal of Very Bad Things.

Or the City! Didn't the Arkham games show how a city can be a massive explorable space with thins to do? The group has to parkour across roofs, square off in a park, climbing on statues to avoid drakes that have been attracted here by the local crimeboss.
I didn't say "couldn't be." I meant a normal functioning city or fortress, even one inhabited by so-called monsters, is an adventure location without being a dungeon.
Is a 'dungeon' something inherently linear? Enclosed? Abandoned? What makes a dungeon a dungeon?
In the broadest sense, it has to be outside the normal paradigm. That is easily encapsulated by ancient ruined temples and dark fey demiplanes and abandoned cloud castles,but the main point is that they are strange and dangerous and don't fit the world in a way that makes sense. An evil orc fortress or whatever isn't a dungeon because it serves a normal purpose in the world. A millenia abandoned high elven castle currently occupied by orcs with even stranger, darker things hidden within is a dungeon.
To me it means getting to do and discover things; investigation and puzzle solving. It irks me when these things are cast aside for inventory management and death spiral mechanics.
whynotboth.gif
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
I didn't say "couldn't be." I meant a normal functioning city or fortress, even one inhabited by so-called monsters, is an adventure location without being a dungeon.

In the broadest sense, it has to be outside the normal paradigm. That is easily encapsulated by ancient ruined temples and dark fey demiplanes and abandoned cloud castles,but the main point is that they are strange and dangerous and don't fit the world in a way that makes sense. An evil orc fortress or whatever isn't a dungeon because it serves a normal purpose in the world. A millenia abandoned high elven castle currently occupied by orcs with even stranger, darker things hidden within is a dungeon.
I'm not sure if this definition is valuable in improving the concept of a dungeon is a dungeon is 'a big delict space'.
whynotboth.gif
Because making me count torches and exhaustion makes me not want to go that, which is the issue at hand.
 

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