D&D 5E What Don't You Like About Dungeons?


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Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
"What story button do I have to find and press to make the plot advance" is my least favorite form of D&D.

"This dungeon has no personality and involves no role-playing" is also a form of D&D I don't like, but I just don't see it that often compared to the above.

I feel like some folks here have had some experiences with terribly designed dungeons, and/or played with DMs who didn't know how to make a dungeon fun.

Good dungeons are the best thing you can do in 5E, IMO.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
If not Dungeons, what? Do people really want to roleplay nowadays? Being a Barista? How long before the outdoors becomes stale? Oh no, not another ambush while camped at night. I really am curious how anyone could avoid not having dungeons as your connector points in between the other pillars. I try as DM to fill my dungeons with some type of purpose, but then fill them with mystery, clues, constant changing elemental conditions. Wind blows your torches out, areas of no magic or perpetual darkness, weird puzzle traps with pieces strewn all over, etc... You have to keep it fresh, or any setting will go stale.
Dungeons often don't involve roleplaying, and tend to cause players to use real world and meta knowledge. I haven't done a random encounter since 1996. Puzzles are best solved with a pick of earth parting.

The world is full of locations, creatures, people, and conditions. Cities, jungles, floating temples, ghost ships, frigid mountains, searing deserts, mysterious gates to other planes, and so on.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Dungeons often don't involve roleplaying, and tend to cause players to use real world and meta knowledge. I haven't done a random encounter since 1996. Puzzles are best solved with a pick of earth parting.

The world is full of locations, creatures, people, and conditions. Cities, jungles, floating temples, ghost ships, frigid mountains, searing deserts, mysterious gates to other planes, and so on.
Roleplaying is when the player decides what their character does, so dungeons involve a lot of it since there's lots to do. If you mean social interaction, that's up to the players to attempt it and the DM to roll with it (or initiate it on their own). Even old school versions of D&D had reaction rolls which meant a number of encounters, random or otherwise, could turn into social interaction. It's not inherent that dungeons have no social interaction. It's often why we see (good) advice like including more than one monster faction in a dungeon so the players can play one off the other.
 

R_J_K75

Legend
A dungeon done properly is fun. A couple of sessions with interesting encounters, some puzzles and some mystery and some intense and dangerous fights.
Another thing I thought of: I think the classic Undermountain-style mega-dungeon that's just like a small dungeon only much bigger is an inherently flawed concept. I think this type of dungeon is best approached as a wilderness region and/or a city adventure. Just like you generally don't map out every street and alley in a city, you don't map out every room in the dungeon. Instead you focus on sub-regions separated by wilderness/neutral territory, and maybe incorporate mini-dungeons/lairs as random encounters.
We played alot of FR 90s. AS much as I liked the concept of Undermountain and story of it, in practice it was just too big and unwieldy. There was so much of it that was left blank for the DM to make it their own that it was just too overwhelming and I had to make large portions of it inaccessible to the players because I wasn't detailing 20-30 rooms. I always thought that the Ruins of Myth Drannor was a perfect example of combing widerness/dungeon exploration and combat. The dungeons were rather small and easy to get through in a few sessions, and even exploring the above ground ruins of the city was dangerous and fun, while the surrounding wilderness of the Forest of Cormanthor perfectly brought everything together and made for a great adventuring locale without getting overbearing or boning.
 

The lesson here is don't prepare linear plots and dungeons, or do so but get the players' buy-in on following it so you're not railroading. It doesn't change my point though that when I'm playing a non-linear dungeon, it feels to me a heckuvalot better than playing someone's plot. I get to do what I want rather than trying to figure out what the next plot point is so I can get to it.
agreed
 

I do like exploring rooms, finding traps, treasures and monsters. But what I don't like, it when the dungeon is an endless series of empty rooms/tunnels. Then it becomes a slog.
100%. Give the players something to interact with - otherwise just leave the empty rooms out of it. Although, one random "empty" room in a dungeon that's otherwise full of stuff might be a mysterious story of its own.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
Roleplaying is when the player decides what their character does, so dungeons involve a lot of it since there's lots to do. If you mean social interaction, that's up to the players to attempt it and the DM to roll with it (or initiate it on their own). Even old school versions of D&D had reaction rolls which meant a number of encounters, random or otherwise, could turn into social interaction. It's not inherent that dungeons have no social interaction. It's often why we see (good) advice like including more than one monster faction in a dungeon so the players can play one off the other.
That equally describes moving a pawn in chess. Roleplaying is when you play your character as a character, not just when you use them as series of moves used to solve a challenge. This is a fully valid way to play, but not to my taste.
 


iserith

Magic Wordsmith
That equally describes moving a pawn in chess. Roleplaying is when you play your character as a character, not just when you use them as series of moves used to solve a challenge. This is a fully valid way to play, but not to my taste.
I'm using how roleplaying is defined in the rules of D&D 5e. It's just the player deciding what their character does, thinks, and says. Whether or not that aligns with somebody's notion of what the character might reasonably do given the context is irrelevant, particularly as anything can be justified in a game based on the childhood game of make-believe. If it does align with the character's personality trait, ideal, bond, or flaw, then that might be worth Inspiration.

But anyway, even if we did go with your definition, there's nothing about a dungeon that inherently prevents someone from "playing your character as a character." If you think that's not true, please tell us how.
 

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