Sunday, August 6, 2017

DF Felltower - Special Thanks Goes To . . .

I'm away, so no Felltower today, but I generally have a game summary or a Felltower post up on Sunday, and it's Sunday.

This is more of a special thanks post.

A megadungeon game is a combination of the new and the iterative. You find new stuff, you deal with old stuff again and again. With a rotating cast of players, 70+ sessions in the dungeon, 90+ sessions of play, hundreds of encounters, six plus years of play, and many hundreds of rumors, it's hard to keep track of everything. Some things the vets know but the newer guys don't, and vice-versa, and not all of that matches or is in fact remotely accurate. Too much is the telephone game in a knowledge-sparse setting.

I try to help by tracking some bits for the players:

- I write game summaries. They're entertaining for readers, but they're really reference documents for actual play. That's probably why they are entertaining, actually.

- I track the monsters encountered.

- I keep track of all of the rumors heard and keep an updated copy.

- I keep updated character sheets for everyone. Well, not their equipment (too fluid) but their stats and spells.

But tying it all together? Not my job. Partly that's laziness (I won't do it) and partly that's specific game approach choice (it's a player-facing challenge, not a character or GM facing challenge.)

One of our players, though, has taken it upon himself to start to tie things together. Vic, who joined our group after discovering us online and overcoming our fear of getting axe-murdered by some random internet stranger, has started to pull everything together.

He has been:

- redrawing maps into single maps, taking the pieces drawn separately (like parts of one level accessed by different approaches), parts accidentally mapped twice, and parts just fading with age, and redrawing them.

- reading the game summaries again and again to check them against the maps and make lists of what was mysterious, not taken advantage of, or what really has been done.

- tracking the rumors himself to compare to events in the current and past sessions.

For all of this I gave his PC a bonus point in Cartography, but it's paid off in-game a couple times for the players. He insisted on checking some rooms for treasure that everyone assumed the vets had looted (they hadn't), pushed to solve the statue puzzle (and found a Ring of Pro, er, Death, for his trouble), pushed to check a staircase that a mapping error had indicated went somewhere thoroughly explored and instead lead to a key to the Giant Freaking Staircase, and has generated a few leads on treasures never followed up on.

I'm not sure if he'd planning on doing this for the Cold Fens, Caves of Chaos, and Lost City of D'Abo as well. I hope so. They're all tied together in one interlocking campaign. The PCs went from stuck, feeling like they'd dead-ended, into having more to do than they can possibly finish in a year of gaming. That probably makes him MVP in a campaign sense at the moment. So, thanks for that Vic.


  1. Thanks! It's a ton of fun. My sons think I was a cartographer in a past life.

    1. But not in this one? Wow, subtle map criticism there.

    2. Yeah, right? Hah. Also, yes, I'm looking to do that for other locations we go to as well.

  2. Having an organized player is a big benefit in any game that is not purely episodic. I once had a disorganized player lead groups to explore the exact same 10 rooms in StoneHell three times in a row (with, admittedly, a month or more downtime between sessions) because he took no notes, remembered nothing of the layout, his instinct of "best way to go" was the same each time, but was still influential enough to get the other PCs (who were there for the first time) to follow his lead.

    The fourth time he got a mission that explicitly pointed him in a different direction.

  3. Just here to praise Vic!


    I fill Vic's role when I'm a Player and we organizer's don't get enough cred.


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