I’ve been reading through a lot of great adventures here as well as Squires and Skogenby. For TB two things really stick out at me as being really important for my ease as a new TB GM as I gear up to hopefully run my first session.
- I want flavorful and descriptive art or text for each room. This is great as TB tells players to “describe to live” and to not call for skill use, but to describe what they’re doing, but I can’t help them do that if all I have to work with is a 30x30 room with a list of obstacles. Along with this descriptive text or even in lieu of it potentially, I would love the maps to be detailed, not just with filagree of design that enhances the overall presentation of the game material (although that’s fine), but by detailed rooms, so I that I can look at the map and describe it to the players, “On the table on the far wall is an ornate dagger sitting in a bowl, a single candle whose flame produces a whisp of smoke…” If the map is detailed enough, I don’t even need the flavor text! It seems that TB uses small dungeons in comparison to the megadungeons of d&d, so I think, if possible more effort can be spent enhancing individual rooms on the map. Skogenby and Squires have fabulous text, but spare map minutae. Obviously, most people just posting their adventurers here aren’t also professional artists, so it’s doubly important to really go to town describing the rooms. Not what monsters are doing, or pre-canned NPC dialogue that many 2E adventures used, but florid descriptions of the place of adventure, which is what I think TB is all about. The dungeon itself is the obstacle. So:
either insanely detailed drawings or make sure you really describe each room. The more descriptive the room, the easier it is for a new GM to “wing it” on deciding what is a test and what the Ob might be. Those are easy to improvise, creating a vivd imaginative environment? I need the help of a storyteller or artist.
- Thor is absolutely right about presenting “problems” not obstacles or tests. Unfortunately, some of the adventures here in this forum (are great! I downloaded them and they are all 1000x better than anything I could do!) spend a lot on textual explanations of, “this room is an Ob 4 climb to do X”. I would much rather…via #1 above, with the art on the map itself and/or with a florid description of the room present what are the obvious challenges and problems adventurers may face.
This is the spider lair. There are cobwebs everywhere. Scout Ob 2 as the players enter will alert them to the spiders lurking above. Dungeoneering test (Ob 3) (fail: injured) to climb the ledge. A magic gem can be found with (wizard sight, arcana Ob2)
DO (either with a kick-ass drawing, or with text or both)
This room, while large, feels closterphobicly small as thick white gooey strands of web cover almost every inch of the black obsidian walls, hints of potential items or desiccated carcases can be half seen deep within these strong, but flammable webbing. Alert to any movement, an attentive ear might catch the clicking mandibles of the lurking brown and purple colored spiders who make their home some 30 feet above the entryway on a ledge, the only access to which are the natural hand holds of the chipped and cracked rocky surface. Torchlight will illuminate the weathered and cracked skulls of previous victims of the intelligent spiders–in one such skull, up on the rocky ledge, in the very back there is a gem worth 2D that hums with a magical energy to anyone attuned to hear the magical pitch it produces.