Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Testing Equipment

Arnold K. says that when designing a dungeon you should ask "What is tested?" What follows is a list of standard equipment and how an environment may test for it. This list will be useful to me not because it is innovative but because it will help me remember to make equipment useful for exploring a dungeon. The listed challenges will for the most part be broad tests-- they will have many alternate solutions.
(I will know I have succeeded when players consider their main armaments based on their out-of-combat uses.)

  1. fire: a wooden door or barricade can be burned away, insects can be scared away or forced to sleep by smoke, darkness can be banished, ambiguous alchemical materials can be distinguished by how they burn.
  2. crowbar: doors can of course be pried open, but also lids, trapdoors, and wall decorations, openings can be jammed open.
  3. rope: a cliff can be climbed, a treasure can be lowered, restraints can be made, heavy items can be lifted with a block and tackle.
  4. Oil: see fire. Also, jammed machinery can be loosened.
  5. Spyglass: distant details can be made out from far away, small details can be made out, sunlight can be used to create a fire.
  6. Chalk: a labyrinth or confusing section of hallways can be notated.
  7. String: a cliff or wall can be climbed and you have wood to make a ladder. An item can be lowered down a small hole, something can be held in place, a tripline can be made.
  8. Shovel: see crowbar. Also, detritus can be cleared, buried objects can be freed.
  9. Grease: see fire and oil. Also, tight spaces can be squeezed through.
  10. Black powder: emplacements can be cleared, doors can be broken, wounds can be singed shut.
  11. Clawed hammer: Nails can be removed, metal can be shaped, rocks can be crushed.

Again, none of this is new, but I'm already daydreaming about confronting players with a totally mundane wooden barricade and challenging them to burn, cut, or dismantle it while under fire.