Tag Archives: player skill

5 Reasons Someone Might Build a Dungeon Filled With Clues, Tests, and Riddles

Dungeons & Dragons features a long tradition of dungeons built with tricks and puzzles to test and confound intruders. Funhouse dungeons filled with odd challenges such as White Plume Mountain and Ghost Tower of Inverness rate as some of the … Continue reading

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The Fun Thing D&D Players Love that No One Mentions and that the Game Almost Lost

Game mastering advice tends to lavish attention on what players enjoy. Things like playing a role, enjoying a sense of power, plotting strategies, and so on. Another pleasure of role-playing games ranks just as high, even though the folks who … Continue reading

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Challenging Your Players’ Skill Without Risking Frustration

The Zork II computer game from 1981 includes a locked door that you can open by solving a clever puzzle. The door has the old-fashioned sort of lock that lets you look through the keyhole and see the other side. … Continue reading

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The Pros and Cons of D&D’s Ability Checks

In the early years of Dungeons & Dragons, players searched by telling the dungeon master where they wanted to look, and then the dungeon master told them if something was there. The game resolved most actions using back and forth … Continue reading

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How to Say Yes Without Turning Your D&D Game Into a Joke

In my last post, I explained how challenging myself to say yes to players made me a better dungeon master, even though I sometimes said no. Sometime in the 90s, I returned gaming conventions after more than a decade away. … Continue reading

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Is it noticed? How to run alertness

Introducing the spot check In this post, I cite “spot checks” to refer to third edition’s Spot checks, Next’s Wisdom (Perception) checks, and tests of awareness made with 4E and Pathfinder’s Perception skill. The Spot skill and its descendents rate … Continue reading

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When should a game master call for a check?

In the early years of Dungeons & Dragons, players searched by telling the dungeon master where they wanted to look, and then the dungeon master told them if something was there. The game resolved most actions using back and forth … Continue reading

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5 reasons someone might build a dungeon filled with clues and tests

In “Puzzle traps,” I explained how the most fun traps come with clues that alert players to the danger. I listed a few reasons why clues might accompany traps even though their builders want them to be unnoticed. In addition … Continue reading

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Puzzle traps

In my previous post, I introduced gotcha traps, the first of my two categories of traps. This post reveals my second category. puzzle traps While characters must search for gotcha traps, puzzle traps always come with clues that signal their … Continue reading

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Fourth edition gives traps a new design

When the fourth edition designers rethought D&D, they saw traps as posing two core problems: Traps can frustrate players Traps can slow play to tedium Problem: Traps that challenge player ingenuity can lead to player frustration. This problem arises when … Continue reading

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