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Starfall #39

Starfall #39 published on 4 Comments on Starfall #39

We’ve decided that it’s okay to show the DM’s face, and this is the first public-facing comic where she’s not just a text-box. Meet Sera, I guess?

I always have trouble with making the various entrances to my dungeons feel meaningful. This is, I think, because I know where the veins of the labyrinth flow. The players, who only see the veil and not the deep arcana of the maps, have a different story than I have. Their story is “we snuck in through the servants quarters and this let us reach the baron’s chambers un-detected,” but my story is, “that was entrance C, which I edited into existence once I realized this guy’s servants need a place to live…” – in other words, the players are having fun while the DM is scrawling out analog procedural generation.

I’m not sure how obvious the difference between “every inch of this place is mapped and I know its day-to-day history going back 10,000 years” and “I am still drawing the room you’ve stepped into, one moment please” actually is to players. The haunted house I made up on the fly seemed to work just as well as running Death House by-the-book, and they’re both just different kinds of work.
So I think that “create meaningful choices” has some assumptions about prep work, but that it all just boils down to the “yes, and” attitude that makes improv (and all TTRPGs have an element of improv) fun.

Did Sera think someone would try to drill through the top of Glass Hill? No, not in a thousand years. She knew where the entrances were.
Is she going to make sure that has some effect on the rest of the dungeon, and that the players feel like drilling through the top was a valid decision from the get-go? Yes, a thousand times.

4 Comments

Yep. I’ve learned two things as a DM:

1. The players invariably *will* come up with a solution that you, the DM, hadn’t considered.

2. It’s okay to sit there blue-screening for a little bit until you come up with a resolution to whatever stupidly clever shit the party just pulled.

Even with simple encounters. In my current campaign I put an encounter where a Gnome was being attacked by three thugs. Between diplomacy and combat, the thing I wasn’t expecting was the thing the party went for: Bribery.

But again, in many ways: This is easily half the fun of it.

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