Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dungeon Mastering

I’m very interested in dungeon mastering right now. When I say “dungeon mastering,” I mean learning to run a game that makes solid use of the dungeon setting and the traditions of the dungeon adventure.

For me, dungeon mastering comes down to three basic things: be the eyes and ears of the characters, channel the dungeon, and make the world real. The players’ job is to ask questions about the dungeon and take the role of their characters. Everything else is pretty much extra.

That’s not the only way to play, and it’s not everything that a game master does, but it represents the essence of an approach to game mastering that I’m trying to understand and perfect. Maybe I’ll add some things to that list.
So, over some posts over the next several days, I’m going to try and flesh out what I mean by this.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is something in principle seems easy but in practice is very hard. Putting yourself in the mind of your players is tough as each one has different motives, mind sets, and abilities. One player may be a "Charge Ahead Kill Them ALL" while other is a methoidical trap finder. Trying to please everyone you end up pleasing nobody.

I've settled into a happy medium of giving the right amount of one area here and a touch of it there. As a good DM You know your players needs the best.

February 25, 2010 at 7:53 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

Yes, handling player expectations is a pretty good place to start. I'm definitely going to talk about that at some point. And by talk, I mean hopefuly learn, because I'm not sure I have any sort of answer to it.

Jeff Rients said something on his blog a while back that sort of blew my mind. He said he loved big con games because he was sure to get a mix of creative agendas at the table.

I'm not sure he was using "creative agenda" the same way I understand it, but I know what he meant. It kind of blew my mind. A lot of great games are designed to support one type of play and support it well. But a good dungeon crawl in the classic sense needs to be accommodate a pretty wide range of players, I believe, to be successful.

February 26, 2010 at 10:12 AM


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