Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Alternative Adventures: 6 Adventures That Aren't Your Average Dungeon Crawl

Being a DM isn't easy. You have to craft the towns, assign the bad guys, remember all the DCs, recall where the traps are, and a dozen other things over and above managing the roving pack of murderous kleptomaniacs that make up the average party. With all those details fighting for your attention, it's easy to get stuck in the same rut time and time again when it comes to the challenges your party is actually facing.

Put another way, what's the challenge this time? Is it a combat slog, or a dungeon crawl?

Maybe this time it's a combat slog IN a dungeon crawl!
As a player who is also a DM, I know how hard it can be to come up with adventures that feel unique. Even if your story is original, the pieces that make it up can cause it to feel a little bland, and a bit samey. So consider, if you will, using some of the following scenarios I wrote for Kobold Press if you want to spice up your game, and throw your players for a bit of a loop.

#1: The Heist


What's the DC on this thing, again?
Most adventurers are out for loot, but most of the time we pretend that's just a side benefit. We're really here to fight tyranny, or save the town, or slay the dragon. Not so with the Heist. You're here expressly to steal something, and you can't just kick in the front door to take it. You need to assemble a team, come up with a plan, and go after the treasure Ocean's 11 style.

#2: The Hunt


We have confirmation on the target. Take him down!
It's one thing to go toe-to-toe with the Bloodcut Gang, but it's a separate challenge entirely if they escaped from confinement a week ago and you have to hunt them down before you can draw steel. Whether your party are bounty hunters who have to bring them back alive, or just a group empowered by the law (or perhaps an extralegal organization), you have to find the target, trail them, and only once you've found them can you kill, capture, or otherwise decide what to do with the object of your quest.

#3: The Infiltration


So... how long have you been guarding the Baron?
The Hangmen are one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the country, and their leader has never been seen without his iconic black hood. No matter how many of the gang are killed, though, the leader remains at large, recruiting more people to fill the ranks. So if you want to eliminate him, you need double agents to get close to him. That's where the party comes in.

#4: The Mystery


This note should give us some insight to the killer... "should" being the operative word.
Sometimes things happen that are inexplicable. A man was murdered, and the killers are still at large. A great treasure has gone missing, and they need to know how it was stolen. A man's wife vanished into thin air, and he needs to know where she went. You may not have to throw a single punch, but the mystery can engage characters of all classes, and from all walks of life.

#5 The Escape


No one gets out of Black Gate, boy. Not alive, anyway.
Sometimes the party is put in a place they don't want to be. Whether it's the dungeons beneath the Red Citadel, or in the caved-in warrens of the Rat Tunnels, they need to get out. That means they have to band together, and pool their resources, if they expect to escape the walls, and the inevitable pursuit that will come afterward.

#6: The Diplomatic Mission


Must not insult the ambassador... must not insult the ambassador...
Most parties have used Diplomacy at some point, but rarely is that their entire mission. War is expensive, though, and most organizations would rather operate in peace than waste valuable resources. So if the party can negotiate a truce, their services will be in high demand. And make them targets for assassination.


Hopefully folks enjoy these 6 pieces of DM advice! That's all for this week's Moon Pope Monday post. If you'd like to support Improved Initiative, head over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page today, and pledge $1 a month. This buys you my undying loyalty, and gets you some sweet swag in the bargain. Lastly, if you haven't followed me on Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter yet, now would be a great time to do just that!

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