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Old 08-19-2017, 03:11 PM   #11
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: brainstorming noncombat encounters for my mega dungeon

A holy hermit tending a joint chapel to the Good gods.

A Big Stone Face that answers questions.

Life sized chess game. Step on to the board and you are assigned a piece to play and the other pieces materialize on the board. The ones on your side will follow the orders of the player chosen to be King (or Queen if nobody got to be King) Taken "pieces" are teleported away.

A field of mushrooms with hallucinogenic spores.
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Old 08-19-2017, 03:11 PM   #12
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: brainstorming noncombat encounters for my mega dungeon

The hotels are down on level 37. By the time you've reached level 30, the trek in and out of the dungeon is getting really dull and taking a significant part of each day. So the hotels advertise a lot in the late twenties and early thirties in the hope of getting people to come down and make an extended stay.

There are two of them. Joe's Delving Hotel is cheerful and unpretentious. It's expensive, of course, but it's pretty safe. The First Dungeon Hotels franchise (nobody's ever met it elsewhere) is slightly more expensive, and takes itself way more seriously. All the staff put a lot of effort into grovelling and waiting on you hand and foot. Unfortunately, they also tend to rob smaller parties, which generally demands killing them too.
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Old 08-19-2017, 03:13 PM   #13
Dalin
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Default Re: brainstorming noncombat encounters for my mega dungeon

Art - clues or interesting history in a chamber of murals. Add magic (gates, divination, etc.) if desired.

Captured - delvers need to escape, find their gear, exact revenge, etc.

Monster-too-deadly-to-fight - must sneak past, distract, or outsmart

Physical challenge - must move heavy object, rebuild bridge, redirect water, etc. Magic can help but challenge needs more than just a single spell.

Last edited by Dalin; 08-19-2017 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Typos
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Old 08-19-2017, 03:23 PM   #14
lachimba
 
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Location: Sydney
Default Re: brainstorming noncombat encounters for my mega dungeon

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Captured - delivers need to escape, find their gear, exact revenge, etc.
This a combat/trap encounter.



Regardless, I try to avoid this sort of railroad in any game. Its 100% out in my megadungeon which is all about the players choosing what they want the PCs to do.

A difficult to enter part of the dungeon for which the PCs surrendering is one easy way through all the traps is fine.
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Old 08-19-2017, 04:18 PM   #15
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: brainstorming noncombat encounters for my mega dungeon

Small blue humanoids who can't really fight (at least not anything bigger than a cat) and survive in a warren with an entrance too small to accommodate a halfling. They come out to forage and may steal from adventurers or bargain with them.
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Old 08-19-2017, 06:14 PM   #16
simply Nathan
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Location: Wyoming, Michigan
Default Re: brainstorming noncombat encounters for my mega dungeon

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Small blue humanoids who can't really fight (at least not anything bigger than a cat) and survive in a warren with an entrance too small to accommodate a halfling. They come out to forage and may steal from adventurers or bargain with them.
They particularly want for enchanted snorkels fitted to their Size Modifier.
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Old 08-19-2017, 09:13 PM   #17
Culture20
 
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Default Re: brainstorming noncombat encounters for my mega dungeon

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Got food?
A different take: A series of farm caverns tended by the serf equivalent of a semi-dominant "evil" humanoid species. As long as the players don't start killing all the farmers, they'll gladly trade food for anything. An infinite food source if the players aren't kill-crazy. Maybe the PCs have to regularly "liberate" the farms from different factions of dungeon dweller masters.

There's always the classic magic fountain. Do you drink? Do you force/trick a fellow player to drink first?

Insanely intricate valuable glass statue too big to move through openings, and essentially worthless if broken into pieces. Some players love to waste time figuring out how to take home the dumbest things.

A room illusioned-up to look like the exit, complete with a view of the actual outside doorway (used by a long-dead dweller to observe the dungeon entrance).

A Scooby-Doo hallway where all the doors are portals that lead only to other doors in the hallway. Another great PC time waster as they try to discover "the one door that leads somewhere" If it's a curved hallway, it may take a long time before they discover the truth.

A room covered in torches with a Minecraft style tree inside. Cubical sections, grows incredibly fast from branch cuttings (if placed in a cube of dirt), etc.

An abandoned prison (an actual dungeon!), with acceptable cots for sleeping.

Dead adventurers scattered here and there... from old age. Sometimes covered in a cairn by former party members, sometimes out in the open. If they're communicated with via necromancy/divination, they ask to be reburied topside.
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Old 08-19-2017, 09:58 PM   #18
simply Nathan
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Default Re: brainstorming noncombat encounters for my mega dungeon

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There's always the classic magic fountain. Do you drink? Do you force/trick a fellow player to drink first?
Heck no! I got those five points from Curious for a reason. :3

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Insanely intricate valuable glass statue too big to move through openings, and essentially worthless if broken into pieces. Some players love to waste time figuring out how to take home the dumbest things.
One campaign anecdote I've heard time and again from an oldschool dungeoneer I know was that he had a super stingy dungeon master who refused to let the players get even the smallest treasure without it being utterly laborious (he was surprised when the players skinned the wolves, as he was not expecting them to find a way to monetize such encounters). After much complaints about insufficient money, he decided to tease these players by putting a huge gold altar in the bottom of a dungeon, with the altar itself being wider than the halls and doors. Rather than cut it to pieces and sell those, the player engineered getting it out of the dungeon and all the way to the temple of his god.

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A Scooby-Doo hallway where all the doors are portals that lead only to other doors in the hallway. Another great PC time waster as they try to discover "the one door that leads somewhere" If it's a curved hallway, it may take a long time before they discover the truth.
I love this idea so much.
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Old 08-20-2017, 05:17 AM   #19
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Default Re: brainstorming noncombat encounters for my mega dungeon

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(he was surprised when the players skinned the wolves, as he was not expecting them to find a way to monetize such encounters)
My players will try to break down just about any monster that doesn't talk [1] into steaks, leather/hide/fur, bones, teeth, talons, severed head trophy, etc and sell all of it (minus what they eat or decide to take for their own trophy cabinet/costumes/monster-claw knives/etc). They also check to make sure it didn't swallow some jewlery with it's last victim.

If it isn't polite enough to bring it's own treasure, and they aren't under time pressure, the PCs will make it into treasure. I've learned to adjust the value of rewards appropriately.

With that kind of PC, an amusing non-combat encounter is anyone civilized enough [2] for the PCs to try to sell them whatever bizarre trophies and rations they've manufactured.

The pile of random-monster-steaks are also useful for turning combat encounters into non-combat encounters: distracting carnivores and negotiating with hungry ogres (stuff them full of "free" gryphon-burgers until they're not hungry, now try to negotiate).

[1] Usually that's the rule. Sometimes it gets stretched to "doesn't speak the 'civilized languages'". And then there was one incident with a nigh-cannibalistic elf ranger making orc-hide tents and orc jerky.

[2] Or un-civilized enough, depending on what they're trying to sell.
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Old 08-20-2017, 05:52 AM   #20
Dalin
 
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Default Re: brainstorming noncombat encounters for my mega dungeon

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This a combat/trap encounter.
Depends on how one implements it. I was picturing more of an initial puzzle involving challenges without gear.

Quote:
Regardless, I try to avoid this sort of railroad in any game. Its 100% out in my megadungeon which is all about the players choosing what they want the PCs to do.
I like to design interesting failure conditions (beyond TPK) in big adventures, so having an "In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords" variant in my back pocket can be a fun way to go. Might not get used, but knowing it's an option allows me to make other design choices with it in mind (e.g., a reference to the Labyrinth of Doom in the mural room). And, as a player, I've certainly wielded my choices in ways that led to capture without it feeling like it was meant to be. Invariably, excellent fun gaming ensues.

In a megadungeon with lots of factions and whatnot, it may be rather likely that the PCs will get in over their heads at some point. Might be interesting to have a Labyrinth of Doom on the map somewhere so that the orcs/troglodytes/shroomkins can drop their naked captives there.

On another note, a fun encounter I remember from one of the Desert of Desolation modules (loved that series) was the neverending pit. It was basically a huge shaft that teleports you back to the top as you are falling. One of the passages crossed the shaft, IIRC. It can simply be a puzzle of how to get across. Or, more interestingly, something is falling past that they need, or must avoid, keeping track of the timing, etc.
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