Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Overwhelming Odds

Musing a bit about the map above (from Arneson's Temple of the Frog), you can see its a bit different from a lot of site-based adventures. Mainly because its smack-dab in the middle of a city full of Bad Guys.

Stuff like this adds a whole other dimension to dungeoneering, and shouldn't be underrated in terms of the quality of experience it will offer your players. At face value, it presents the adventuring group with overwhelming odds. Unlike the dungeon, or the wilderness trek to get there, there is usually no question of taking on opposition the magnitude of a city or town with basic sword and spell. A similar scenario is set up in Vault of the Drow. There is much more than just a hack-and-crawl to contend with.

As a Referee, its vastly entertaining to me to see what sort of plan players come up with to overcome such obstacles. Subterfuge? Stealth? Amassing a mercenary army? Buying a traitor to assist them?

Sadly, i don't see much of this in contemporary adventures. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places?

What are your experiences with dealing with overwhelming odds?


  1. Stealth and clever tactics usually. In last night's game, against much more powerful monsters, the fighters went up front, fighting on the defensive, while those behind pelted them with arrows.

    In this Sunday's game we'r likely to be facing a dragon, and we're only level 2, so much thought is going into how we bypass it, but as yet, nothing concrete had been decided.

  2. I greatly enjoy situations where PCs have to sneak about and use cunning over one long string of meaningless melees. Kicking the door in and killing everything on the other side doesn't really offer much difference in play after a while.

    My players currently seek looting what they think is a City of Gold, the only problem is the city is occupied by an awful lot of people.

  3. Thieves being my preferred class, I would naturally go with stealth/subterfuge/infiltration whenever possible.

  4. I ran a game in Midnight, which is kind of Overwhelming Odds: The Campaign Setting. All but a few cities are in the hands of the enemy; fortunately, one of the PCs had a good cover story (being a mercenary formerly employed by said enemy), while the others were played off as his slaves.

    I expect to see some of this in the Traveller game I'm playing in currently as well, since we're now wanted men in human space, but we need human-compatible foodstuffs...



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