3 reasons to run the gauntlet

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Dungeon Crawls can be fun… And deadly!
Picture by Andrew Mason

This is a guest post by Brennon Shaw. Brennon has been a DM and Gamer for 15 years and is fond of his many Half-Orc Butlers. He’s also an Admin for the fansite Fable-2.com.

Running the gauntlet

While all of us love a good roleplaying session, warming up that gruff voiced fighter with a chip on his shoulder, or the Eladrin Wizard with a phobia of water there’s probably not a gamer out there who doesn’t enjoy just shedding some monsters blood. Thankfully Dungeon Crawling is a brilliant chance to just let loose and blast the crap out of the myriad of the vile foes that adorn the Monster Manual.

As mentioned in my previous article (Filling the time) Dungeon Crawling is a sure fire way to get your group into their roles and niches. You’ll inevitably find that after a Dungeon Crawl used to introduce a new player (maybe a few runs in different levels of difficulty) he or she will end up finding their magic powers, their sword arm, or their tightened bow string. You will end up finding out who are your natural leaders, your competent spell casters, and invariably the players you shouldn’t trust with a tooth pick.

Reason #1 – Testing the water

Dungeon Crawling isn’t just good for players. Dungeon Masters too can find some cruel and interesting tactics in the midst of blood and steel. You may be joining in, but getting a Crawl going and unleashing the menagerie of creatures at your disposal will give you great ideas for your campaigns. It will let you know at what level you should be putting your players against fiendish beasts, and what tactics work with those monsters in play and don’t.

The best part is that all this learning and information gathering can be done in secret, so while your friends think you’re helping them defeat the mighty trolls you’re actually taking mental notes about how to end their pitiful lives in the dungeon next session.

Reason #2 – And here’s the secret door

It’s also a good way to secretly try out traps, maps and pitfalls for the sessions in progress. It’s more acceptable to let a Dungeon Crawler die at the hands of a pit of poisoned spikes, but less so to do it too your friends well thought out and loved Druid.

Reason #3 – One day all this will be yours…

It’s very rare that you will get your characters all the way to level 30 in a storytelling role-play. But, with the draw of the treasure, and room after room of monsters your Dungeon Crawlers will be shooting through the ranks and unlocking and using power after Kord damn power.

Dungeon Crawling opens up the Adventures Vaults doors for all your players and lets them mess around with tools and magical items that they could only dream of getting in campaigns. You get to play the heroes of the land, and battle beasts like dragons and giants rather than goblins and kobolds in dark caves and sewers.

While also fulfilling the player’s fantasies and uber-hero fixations it’s also a good opportunity for Dungeon Masters to let their group look forwards to their characters progression. Auduin the Paladin at level 3 in the heroic campaign will soon be able to get the powers and feats of the armoured god you made in the Dungeon Crawl and so you will spur your player on to make it to those lofty heights of paragon and epic and bring the pain with a storytelling purpose.

Overall Dungeon Crawling is just plain, awesome, fun. Well, unless you’re playing the Tomb of Horrors which has claimed many an adventuring party over the years. But yes, Dungeon Crawling is fun as fun can be and is a great way to spend time before, and during sessions with your group.

Now let’s go hunt some orc…

This was a guest post by Brennon Shaw. Brennon has been a DM and Gamer for 15 years and is fond of his many Half-Orc Butlers. He’s also an Admin for the fansite Fable-2.com.

3 thoughts on “3 reasons to run the gauntlet”

  1. Never been that into role playing, I guess I’m just too old school for that, Bring back the HACK?
    Exploration in vast multi-sectioned complexes is a neat way to have fun. The DM is attempting to out wit you in to an early death by dangling various sparkly objects. Yeah that a very crude Monte Python way of looking at it but that the thing, D&D what ever version you like can be what ever you like?

  2. My brothers been using Dungeon Delves to playtest the Half-Orc Barbarian scheme for 4th edition…I can safetly say a lvl 1 babarian is a lot cooler than his lvl 10 he had in 3.5

    Some of the magic items you can wield after paragon especially are frighteningly awesome too.

    Cheers ;o)

  3. I couldn’t agree more. Our group has been trying out the Dungeon Delves at various levels over the past few weeks.

    We’re getting a chance to try out the new classes and races from the PHB2 and we’re learning a lot of neat things about which classes work best together. There are essentially throw-away characters to only be used for one night, but it’s giving us a lot of cool ideas for what we can play for our next bigger, long-term campaign.

    We’re also making a point of choosing magic items that are more for flare and less for power. We’re constantly amazed at how useful some of these items turn out to be.

    Good post.

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