Author Topic: Intellectually stimulating my Players  (Read 1562 times)

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RealMarkP

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Intellectually stimulating my Players
« on: November 25, 2010, 04:23:16 PM »
I've started down the 'City of the Spider Queen' adventure rabbit hole. It's loaded with many hack-and-slash moments. The thing is, combat is in some cases tedious and does not offer any problem solving moments other than a minor strategy element. To make things worse, my players are a bunch of intellectuals and they thrive on intellectual stimulation. Rolling dice, albeit fun, does not offer that sort of stimulation.

I'm asking, if you have any suggestions on how I can get the party to use their brains. Or, how can I make this hack-and-slash adventure a little bit more cerebral?

EDIT: I was thinking of throwing a few puzzles into the game, but in a dungeon crawl adventure, it might seem out of place. I had limited success with an encounter in the Dordrien Crypts (my take on it, not stock). I had a room where the doors auto-shut on them. It was more of a mishap that they didn't find the trap, especially since their resident ranger/rogue is skilled at it. Anyway, they talked and debated (all four of them) and came up with a rather elegant solution. The barbarian smashed the doors until they cracked a bit. The Duskblade used Dimension Hop to teleport the ranger to the other side of the door so that he may pick the lock. Since that spell is line of sight, he peered through the crack and initiated the spell. Ignoring the fact that the ranger tripped the trap and almost died, the encounter livened up the group. I think it entertained them, to say the least.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2010, 04:31:09 PM by RealMarkP »

Havok4

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Re: Intellectually stimulating my Players
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2010, 05:57:11 PM »
My suggestion is just to come up with a bunch of problems and impediments for your players, let them figure out a way around them.  Some ideas, an apparantly bottomless chasm with several reverse gravity variants spread throughout it, an indestructible and impenetrable door set in a normal stone wall, enemies that do hit and run tactics that they have to use teamwork and trap like a teleporting devil.

veekie

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Re: Intellectually stimulating my Players
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2010, 08:24:55 PM »
One of the smoother ways you can work mental challenges in is with the combat encounters, combine them with battlefield changing traps(pressure plates that turns floors to pits, rotate walls around, raise/lower terrain, introduce hazardous terrain, etc) and watch them go.
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It's also a little cold because of that.
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I can barely read mine.

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[spoiler]
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[/spoiler]

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dna1

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Re: Intellectually stimulating my Players
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2010, 02:46:31 AM »
seems like you have the same problem that i have with dungeons. they are boring.

solution 1: dont run a dungeon game.

solution 2: heavily modify the city of the spider queen so it feels more like a normal game
Slappin ho's like E-Honda

RealMarkP

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Re: Intellectually stimulating my Players
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2010, 07:34:08 PM »
I'm implementing solution #2. Rather than heavily modifying the adventure, I'm keeping the villains, mobs, traps, and general feel of the adventure, just changing the layout of the dungeons to be more challenging. In terms of combat, I'm changing the spells used by mob casters from blaster type spells to battlefield control. I was thinking of adding more traps, as well. Is there a good resource for traps?

veekie

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Re: Intellectually stimulating my Players
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2010, 07:55:44 PM »
@Traps
Indiana Jones movies.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

bearchucks

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Re: Intellectually stimulating my Players
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2010, 01:45:40 AM »
Star Wars has automated guns, bottomless pits, poison gas...

but for the crunch of traps...the SRD d20srd.org should have it somewhere.
http://www.atomicsockmonkey.com/freebies/di/pdq-core.pdf  The smallest, shortest, simplest ruleset of any RPG I've ever seen.  If 3.5 is too complex and you don't like 4.0, try this.  It has very few rules and is just short of freeform.

RealMarkP

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Re: Intellectually stimulating my Players
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2010, 06:47:34 PM »
...the SRD d20srd.org should have it somewhere.

I use traps a lot. But what I was asking for is more on the line of tactics. Maybe battle field control suggestions (spells?).

Necrosnoop110

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bearchucks

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Re: Intellectually stimulating my Players
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2010, 04:00:26 AM »
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/solidfog.htm holds people in place.
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/cloudkill.htm kills or does con damage to people in its area
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/blacktentacles.htm grapples people like crazy.

Throwing the three of them together is liable to kill everybody.  Admittedly, this only teaches them to bring teleportation or freedom of movement.

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/grease.htm Rogue's best friend--anybody with less than five ranks in balance (and who puts points in balance?) is flat-footed while balancing, much less if they've tripped and fallen.

Alarm + Minor Creation for Poison (if you go in the area it fills with poison)
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/sleetStorm.htm if they can't see through the area they don't know that there's standard run of the mill traps there.

Assorted walls, web are more "no fly zones" so to speak.

http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=10320.0 there's also this thread you could borrow things from.  Player is basically playing a guy with a fortress and is asking for advice to survive raiders.
http://www.atomicsockmonkey.com/freebies/di/pdq-core.pdf  The smallest, shortest, simplest ruleset of any RPG I've ever seen.  If 3.5 is too complex and you don't like 4.0, try this.  It has very few rules and is just short of freeform.