Sometimes, when planning for a game, you look at the blank sheet of note paper and your brain just freezes. I had that problem last night when planning to start up something new with my wife. I'm lucky, insofar as I have amassed a pretty impressive library of game books.
In the name of sharing the awesome, I want to share my favorite idea mining resources with you today.
Core 2e or Master editions) have some of the best advice on encounter design I have ever read.
- It gives advice on timers and using them in play to ratchet up tension and keep the game moving.
- It discusses how to add greater stakes by way of emphasizing threat,
- As well as exciting opportunities that reward creative play.
- ICRPG also offers tools for adjusting difficulty of adventures and encounters on the fly that may or may not work for you depending on your dming style, but it definitely worth looking at.
- Finally, ICRPG catalogs the most common kinds of encounters with sample room maps and suggested difficulty levels for each type that can be used to help you put together a dungeon very quickly.
Mixed with some generally good game mastering principles, this book offers some of the best advice on how to be a great GM outside of the AD&D2e Campaign Sourcebook and Catacombs Guide. Considering it before designing a dungeon changes the way you think about the encounters for the better.
Tome of Adventure DesignTome of Adventure Design is a much-loved book for a reason. I would have put it in my last "In Case You Missed It", but a new, revised edition just came out, so it would seem like an odd thing to include.
This book is the ultimate collection of random tables. They can be used for everything from designing individual encounters and dungeons, to planning baseline campaigns, creating new races, building custom monsters, or even making strange and unusual new worlds for your setting. Hundreds of pages of rich random tables. If you are at a loss, grabbing it and rolling some dice is a great idea.
One Page Dungeons
The one page dungeon is something I have written about extensively for good reason. In a pinch, you can grab any one of these, take 5 minutes for planning, and run a darned good game.
Studying them also helps tighten your design, by showing what is and isn't necessary to provide an effective design.
...and you can always steal a map for your own purposes.
|My own 1PD, Gastropodia|
DCC 's Monster Design Tables
These tables are inspired by James Raggi IV's Random Esoteric Creature Generator, which I have yet to have the pleasure to read.
Professor Dungeon Master
Dungeon Craft is my favorite D&D YouTube channel hands down. He always has cool ideas, whether it is encounter design, advice on using modules as jump-off points for adventure design, or ways to speed up gameplay. I always come away from his videos with new ideas.