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Old 02-19-2020, 08:23 AM   #1
Dalin
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Default Quick, self-contained encounters

Tomorrow I'm launching the spring session of the ongoing DFRPG activity at my middle school. (See this or this thread or this Daily Illuminator for background.) We will have about 40 minutes per session (after setup and cleanup). This semester, I may be running a table for some players who are entirely new to RPGs.

It's been a few years since I've run a table at the activity, but my recollection is that the best format was to have each short session feature a single encounter. The encounters might be loosely connected in some sort of hand-wavy story, but we skip over most of the in-between stuff (town, the journey, etc.). I usually select things that will showcase different aspects of the game (social encounters, traps, puzzles, melee combat, ranged combat, magic, etc.). I'm looking for fresh ideas to add to the mix.

I'd appreciate it if you'd toss me some gems from your games: self-contained situations that can be resolved in <45 minutes. (Doesn't matter if you used DFRPG for the encounter... conversions are easy; I pull a lot of material from D&D and other RPGs.) Here are a few ideas beyond regular melee combat that I used in the past to give you an idea of the flavor:
  1. A battle with undead or other monsters that regenerate or respawn until the Evil Thing is destroyed. (This one is always popular; it's fun to play with people who have no sense of cliché!)
  2. A platform dangling from a chain in a cavern with a lake or something below (they either teleport onto it or climb down the chain from above). The goal is to get to a ledge on the side. They can use magic, ropes, or set the platform swinging so that they get close enough to jump. Season with some aerial critters and something(s) in the water to chomp on fallen heroes.
  3. Rust monster or other creature that destroys equipment. (Even when we're hardly tracking resources, I've found that players just don't want anything messing with their imaginary stuff.) Requires creative tactics to defeat while retaining prized gear.

I'm also thinking of this as a way of trying out ideas that I might showcase at the summer workshop I'm offering for kids who want to delve more deeply into the art of game mastery.
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