This Warehouse of Trinkets is a place for Free Internet content, mostly video games and pen and paper RPG material.
There is a weekly review about some item to add to the shelves; and The Storeman will periodically babble at the counter, giving some advise or just thinking out aloud.
Feel free to recommend free content to add to the Warehouse.
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Ok, so let’s talk about the
topic at hand:
When describing a scene, I've
found something really useful: don't make a puzzle. Don't get me wrong, maybe
you are good at puzzles and your players like them, but unless you want to
create a specific obstacle that's a puzzle, don't. What I mean is, make a room
because of its narrative properties, not it's Challenge Rating (or whatever
applies to your game).
When I unleashed my first
invincible monster, I knew it would be a tricky thing to
get right, both in narrative and mechanics. The monster had to be a threat, but
the players should be able to escape. What did I do? I trusted them, and
created the most flavorful room I could, giving little though to how they could
It was a ceremonial chamber,
with an altar for sacrifices in the middle and some tunnel to drain the blood
through the floor. It had engravings on the walls that depicted the battle
between the sky and the sea. It all meant nothing to me; I had no plan for any
of it. All I knew was that the monster was a giant fish man.
As soon as the players
realized they couldn't hurt the creature, one of them asked: "Do I have a
blanket?". As he was an explorer we decided he did in fact carry one, so
he proceeded to put it on his back and start flapping his arms. I was expecting
them to run from the monster but they though it would be better to scare it.
They used the pictures on the walls (a detail I had just added to spice the
chamber up) and ignored the obvious altar in the middle of the room (one of the
few things on the temple that could actually be used against the monster if
they deciphered the hieroglyphs). And it was way better than what I had
My conclusion today is
simple: describe everything in great detail, but don't try to get ahead of the
players. Expect them to surprise you using the whole scenery. Unless you are a
puzzlemaster; then mind screw them good.