How do you plan your gaming sessions to incorporate DF

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Re: How do you plan your gaming sessions to incorporate DF

Post by GODofwar » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:57 pm

derekjr wrote:
Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:57 pm
I'm relatively new to D&D, new to DF, love the idea of it, love the product, spent way too much on KS5 :D I have lots of questions.

I have the kind of personality that wants to buy EVERYTHING, but also have this skepticism about how much I will actually use the tiles. When I see large setups -- full dungeons, towns, etc. How do you prepare those things with all the uncertainty of what players will choose to do? Say you have an entire village laid out. Are you hoping they will spend the entire session there? If they're just going to be RP-ing in town, what do the tiles actually add to that? Do most people who do that just have enough living space to leave it setup for a long time?

I both do complete layouts and partials...see below. Keep in mind i have a huge gaming room (24x 31) and a large (15x15) gaming/mil history library/Game Factory. My game room has 2x 5x10' tables that 'fly' to the ceiling.

My space is very limited, so I just pre-build boss rooms or unique locations for special moments of the week. Encounters that I know will definitely happen. Yet even if I had more room, I struggle to see the use of a fully-realized, sprawling location in actual gameplay. If they're crawling through a large dungeon, don't they see you've built something hidden over there -- ruining the mystery -- even if you have it covered? Do you have a blueprint laid out, and build it as they go? can't see my players having the patience for that! :lol:

First, buy GAMEMASTERING by Jamieson. That will answer a lot of your questions. It revolutionizaed my play and saved lots of time.

In essence, I lay out a series of challenges based on the current plot. Understand also that my four gaming groups have been at it for 8, 6, 4 and 3 years, so I always have an ongoing plot.

A challenge is a situaion PC can accept or reject. Example: They enter a town, and a walking fishmonger offers them wares. If they are rude, if they are polite, if they buy - all different outcomes. And that outcom steers them to another part of town. And so on. Shortly after that will be another Challenge, in case they refuse that one.

I make a flowchart showing the challenges (numbered to match my 'script' which really is not a script) and navigate that way. For a town, I usually build most of it b/c building CBS takes so long; i just cover it with a sheet or cardboard. Things they could see anyway, like a tall building, I let stand up through the cover.


I have a similar misgiving about the tiles making every dungeon/cave/whathaveyou feel similar. Do your players express any fatigue about a dungeon of Dwarven make looking architecturally the same as a dungeon under a human castle? I can see how to make a unique layout with all the varied pieces, but they will always be brick dungeons, and damp-walled caverns, no? I'd be excited to see different styles in the future, like the Shrine of Sysuul.

I survey my PC every year. They unanimously and vociferously want DwF on the table,
year after year. Keep in mind that the bling and furnishings make the room. I almost never furnish a room till PC get there- we game in 15mm and I have a big collection of furniture. Setting up a room takes seconds.


I started rambling there, but I'm just looking for thoughts and tips from hardcore DF users/collectors about these issues. Or if they're not issues at all for you :)
There is absoluely nothing wrong with building as you go. For larger dungeons caverns I often do it. They are much quicker to build than CBS. Castles will always be prebuilt.

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Re: How do you plan your gaming sessions to incorporate DF

Post by Gargs454 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:47 pm

derekjr wrote:
Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:29 pm
Slowly realizing I've been looking at this from a very narrow perspective, and reading/seeing these revealed a lot more possibilities (while reminding me that I want allll the pieces! :lol: ) I'm thinking for my purposes in D&D, I'd have to take more ownership of campaign creation instead of modules, so I'll probably get more use from DF as I gain experience.
One thing to keep in mind is that as a general rule, if you are using a prewritten module, you don't always need to follow the map layouts exactly. I generally will use them as a guide (especially when you are dealing with caverns that are rounded and/or odd shaped rooms). The difference between say a 7 x 8 room and a 7 x 6 room will almost always be negligible in terms of the module. So you will usually be able to adjust a module's maps to fit your personal selection of DF for the most part. Obviously round rooms will be hard to replicate if you don't have curved walls, etc., but you get the idea.

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Re: How do you plan your gaming sessions to incorporate DF

Post by Arcarius2001 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:35 pm

Welcome to the forums derekjr!

I mostly run my own stuff because I mostly wing it. I used to do massive prep for a game, almost like writing my own module. I found that necessary when I ran 3.5 and Pathfinder games as they are so rule heavy, I needed those stat blocks for the encounters. So my setups were carefully mapped and layed out to consider the tactical movement rules of those systems. After I moved over to Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG (DCCRPG), everything changed. It is much more rules light, more like what we played back in the late 70s and eatly 80s. Then I started running DnD 5e and pretty much kept the same loose, flying by the seat of my pants style. So how I used my DF changed as well.

Now, my DF setups really drive the theme of the game session. I decide what kind of adventure to run: dungeon, evil temple, wilderness, town, etc. and start laying it out with no real design in mind. Basically I set up what I think looks cool. As I am doing that I will imagine who or what may live/lurk/populate a given area, but only in general terms. I make a one line note to that effect. "This looks like a place that giant spiders may live." "Area #1, ogre guarding cave entrance, has sweet tooth, can be bribed." I list AC and hp, attacks. Sometimes I don't even bother listing the stats and just wing it if combat happens. For creatures that are special, I will bookmark my monster manual in case I need to reference it.

I often will just think of something during game. For example, if the party for some reason feels they need to be wary of undead, then I will add some right then. Recently I had some cells deep down in a cavernous dungeon. I made them hold some ghouls instead of emaciated and half dead prisoners because one player was really keyed up on undead.

I cover the setup, if it's a dungeon or cavern, etc. with pieces of felt and uncover as the party explores. I set up dead ends etc and also keep a few things off table, like a secret room that I add during game. If it's a town or city game, they see it all and we roleplay the encounters as they move about the town. The setup is really then for eye candy, but we will use it with minis if the game goes that way. My players are pretty good at acting as the characters would, not as they expect the dungeon. In other words, just because they see an area covered by felt, the characters do not automatically work to uncover every covered area.

One thing I will stress, there is no right or wrong way to use Dwarven Forge in your games. It's all about what works for you.

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Re: How do you plan your gaming sessions to incorporate DF

Post by arsthein » Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:36 pm

Saxon1974 wrote:
Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:36 am
Nice, thank you very much for the info and links! I'll give it a try when I get some time.
You are more than welcome, hope you find time to check it out and enjoy it!

Greetings,

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Re: How do you plan your gaming sessions to incorporate DF

Post by Saxon1974 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:36 am

arsthein wrote:
Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:21 am
Hi there! yes, is a quite popular software among forumites made by one old forumite. It was intended in the beginning for the Doom Boardgame and provided the tiles for it.

It lets you keep inventory of all your DF pieces and design a map with them. And warns you when you run out of one, and tells you how many of each you have left unused. I love it, and I think a lot of other people love it too. It was very popular long time ago in the resin aeons of old before the DF official online map maker was developed as a stretch goal in KS1. A couple of some other two forumites (I'm very sorry for not recalling names, even as thankful as I am to them) provided amazing graphics and photos for the pictures as they hit the market.

From Den of Evil and beyond some other forumites made their own photographs (HeroQuestFrance comes to mind) and I've made mine too, even accesories and minis, and shared them in the "how do I use this stuff" forum. You can find links there to the program and the xml files you need. You can modify them to suit your DF collection. There isn't everything as there are only what the ones that provide pics have in their collections, but there are plenty of non-DF stuff too (grendel, armorcast, thomarillion, and a big bunch of others, I even provided the miniworlds catacombs last time I shared a little before the Dungeon of Doom. (I'm working right now on pictures from my castles). There are Catacombs, Realm of the ancients, River and Lake Caverns, and even some pictures from battlements, Sewers, KS2 Caverns "borrowed" in the forum that come from the map-maker online tool. I even threw up some made-up graphics for lava KS2 caverns.

Here, there's my last posts sharing stuff, I put a .txt file explaining how to configure it.
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=6322&start=130#p115206
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=6322&start=140#p115495

In that thread you'll find other useful links to the software and what not, so I recommend digging in and seeing what other Valorians have posted.

I would love if the DF stuff shared the image files of the map-maker program for castles and other kickstarters so we could use it with the TileSystem software, as it is offline, and some of us like it more than the mapmaker (specially if you use resin sets, which to my knowledge are not offered in the map-maker).

Hope it helps,

Greetings!
Nice, thank you very much for the info and links! I'll give it a try when I get some time.

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Re: How do you plan your gaming sessions to incorporate DF

Post by arsthein » Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:21 am

Hi there! yes, is a quite popular software among forumites made by one old forumite. It was intended in the beginning for the Doom Boardgame and provided the tiles for it.

It lets you keep inventory of all your DF pieces and design a map with them. And warns you when you run out of one, and tells you how many of each you have left unused. I love it, and I think a lot of other people love it too. It was very popular long time ago in the resin aeons of old before the DF official online map maker was developed as a stretch goal in KS1. A couple of some other two forumites (I'm very sorry for not recalling names, even as thankful as I am to them) provided amazing graphics and photos for the pictures as they hit the market.

From Den of Evil and beyond some other forumites made their own photographs (HeroQuestFrance comes to mind) and I've made mine too, even accesories and minis, and shared them in the "how do I use this stuff" forum. You can find links there to the program and the xml files you need. You can modify them to suit your DF collection. There isn't everything as there are only what the ones that provide pics have in their collections, but there are plenty of non-DF stuff too (grendel, armorcast, thomarillion, and a big bunch of others, I even provided the miniworlds catacombs last time I shared a little before the Dungeon of Doom. (I'm working right now on pictures from my castles). There are Catacombs, Realm of the ancients, River and Lake Caverns, and even some pictures from battlements, Sewers, KS2 Caverns "borrowed" in the forum that come from the map-maker online tool. I even threw up some made-up graphics for lava KS2 caverns.

Here, there's my last posts sharing stuff, I put a .txt file explaining how to configure it.
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=6322&start=130#p115206
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=6322&start=140#p115495

In that thread you'll find other useful links to the software and what not, so I recommend digging in and seeing what other Valorians have posted.

I would love if the DF stuff shared the image files of the map-maker program for castles and other kickstarters so we could use it with the TileSystem software, as it is offline, and some of us like it more than the mapmaker (specially if you use resin sets, which to my knowledge are not offered in the map-maker).

Hope it helps,

Greetings!

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Re: How do you plan your gaming sessions to incorporate DF

Post by Saxon1974 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:28 am

arsthein wrote:
Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:39 am
marcoreds wrote:
Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:50 am
I use my own campaign and stuff.

But still, I do think modules are useful.

I read many modules, rules systems, campaign, and I often find good ideas in them

What I use is these ideas (the ones I like), not the modules themselves as they are written.

For example, I might read an adventure in which (just making this up) a village is beset by an evil witch. Maybe I like the idea, or the flavour, or some detail about motivations. I would take this idea and insert it in my story. I would not run the module as is written, as I very often find that the synopsis written is quite unbelievable. My players are quite smart, and I always need changes to actually have events make more sense.

As to the dungeons, I never try to rebuild them axactly as they are shown in the adventure.
It makes no sense, 99% of the times the actual map is irrelevant, you could build a different map and just use the ideas of the ecology of the dungeon, the critters, the traps shown with a very different setups.
I take the ideas, build MY dungeon with the pieces I have, then put the ideas in there.
I'm pretty much in the same boat as marcoreds. I build my games around DF, minis and accesories. So, I use the TileSystem program to design my dungeons (with the measures of my table in mind), and always build the dungeon as the players go. They are patient like that, but then again I have my dungeon room arranged for optimum quickness of dungeon building.

Sometimes you have to pull out "tricks". For example, I don't mind disconnecting areas of the dungeon when needed (other small floors, pits, or secret passages in different levels for example). Or even go to the living room for a small portion of the dungeon that is somewhat independent. If the dungeon has different levels I build them as different dungeons, I reset the table to 0, and start building the new level. Now the options for building with elevations and different levels are greater than ever, too.

When an area is too big, I try to design several variations of one portion, and then, ala pac-man, when the players go through one side of the "board" (or below... or above!) I put them in other side, tell them it's a new area, and change the stuff that needs to be changed. I find this useful for sewers, cities, big scoped dungeons (like a dwarven city), and even to throw them away in a "rotating rooms" section of the dungeon, if you know what I mean. You can even put them in a laberinth of tunnels, and remove the passages behind them to use them in front (designed having in mind the amount and type of cavern tunnels you have). That works great, because they sort of remember the way but if they don't pay attention and rely on their memory for too long, the can get lost (as they should).

Then, I love to read modules, I have a bunch. I play my own campaign, and although right now is kind of "rail-roady", it's not written and I tend to have enough time between sessions to plan in advance, so I can design and adjust future events, encounters, or even whole adventures according to the players decissions.

But my plan is to put to work a sandbox system in my world. For that, is great to have small modules to have available to throw here or there, if I need an adventure in the dessert, for example. And I'm making a collection of well known mega-dungeons that I will put somewhere in my world to visit freely (or with adventure hooks) from time to time, with freedom to leave them and go somewhere else (if they can).

In any case, I always design my games, and I adopt bought modules without paying attention to the exact configuration of its map. As I read, I'm discarding, changing and adjusting everything in my mind, from plot to cults, gods, monsters, races, etc, to make it fit in my campaign setting, and having in mind always my DF collection, accesories, and capabilities of the gaming table. Plan in advance the "tricks" I will need to pull off to represent the place keeping the tactical/interesting features of the dungeon in a manner that suits me. I like the adjusting proccess quite a bit.

Hope that helps!

Greetings,
TileSystem program?

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Re: How do you plan your gaming sessions to incorporate DF

Post by arsthein » Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:39 am

marcoreds wrote:
Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:50 am
I use my own campaign and stuff.

But still, I do think modules are useful.

I read many modules, rules systems, campaign, and I often find good ideas in them

What I use is these ideas (the ones I like), not the modules themselves as they are written.

For example, I might read an adventure in which (just making this up) a village is beset by an evil witch. Maybe I like the idea, or the flavour, or some detail about motivations. I would take this idea and insert it in my story. I would not run the module as is written, as I very often find that the synopsis written is quite unbelievable. My players are quite smart, and I always need changes to actually have events make more sense.

As to the dungeons, I never try to rebuild them axactly as they are shown in the adventure.
It makes no sense, 99% of the times the actual map is irrelevant, you could build a different map and just use the ideas of the ecology of the dungeon, the critters, the traps shown with a very different setups.
I take the ideas, build MY dungeon with the pieces I have, then put the ideas in there.
I'm pretty much in the same boat as marcoreds. I build my games around DF, minis and accesories. So, I use the TileSystem program to design my dungeons (with the measures of my table in mind), and always build the dungeon as the players go. They are patient like that, but then again I have my dungeon room arranged for optimum quickness of dungeon building.

Sometimes you have to pull out "tricks". For example, I don't mind disconnecting areas of the dungeon when needed (other small floors, pits, or secret passages in different levels for example). Or even go to the living room for a small portion of the dungeon that is somewhat independent. If the dungeon has different levels I build them as different dungeons, I reset the table to 0, and start building the new level. Now the options for building with elevations and different levels are greater than ever, too.

When an area is too big, I try to design several variations of one portion, and then, ala pac-man, when the players go through one side of the "board" (or below... or above!) I put them in other side, tell them it's a new area, and change the stuff that needs to be changed. I find this useful for sewers, cities, big scoped dungeons (like a dwarven city), and even to throw them away in a "rotating rooms" section of the dungeon, if you know what I mean. You can even put them in a laberinth of tunnels, and remove the passages behind them to use them in front (designed having in mind the amount and type of cavern tunnels you have). That works great, because they sort of remember the way but if they don't pay attention and rely on their memory for too long, the can get lost (as they should).

Then, I love to read modules, I have a bunch. I play my own campaign, and although right now is kind of "rail-roady", it's not written and I tend to have enough time between sessions to plan in advance, so I can design and adjust future events, encounters, or even whole adventures according to the players decissions.

But my plan is to put to work a sandbox system in my world. For that, is great to have small modules to have available to throw here or there, if I need an adventure in the dessert, for example. And I'm making a collection of well known mega-dungeons that I will put somewhere in my world to visit freely (or with adventure hooks) from time to time, with freedom to leave them and go somewhere else (if they can).

In any case, I always design my games, and I adopt bought modules without paying attention to the exact configuration of its map. As I read, I'm discarding, changing and adjusting everything in my mind, from plot to cults, gods, monsters, races, etc, to make it fit in my campaign setting, and having in mind always my DF collection, accesories, and capabilities of the gaming table. Plan in advance the "tricks" I will need to pull off to represent the place keeping the tactical/interesting features of the dungeon in a manner that suits me. I like the adjusting proccess quite a bit.

Hope that helps!

Greetings,

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Re: How do you plan your gaming sessions to incorporate DF

Post by jackattack » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:14 am

You can also tailor your set-ups to accommodate or limit character abilities and resources.

Arbitrary examples follow...

Ranger-archer in a dungeon. Make sure there are some long passages, and big rooms with elevated vantage points, where they can use their bows to best effect.

Tired of your spellcasters defaulting to fireball all the time? Keep the encounter areas tight, and use corners to keep line-of-sight short. If you still want a large encounter area, give it multiple doors so the opponents can enter from various locations, rather than bunching up in one spot.

Does the rogue complain about not being effective in combat? Use columns and other features to give him places to hide and/or maneuver for sneak attacks.

Want to get more mileage out of your traps? Send the party through the gauntlet passageway, or over the spike-filled pit, or across the rickety bridge -- only to find themselves slightly outclassed on the other side. See if they try to lure the monster into the trap(s) they avoided, or give them a chance to retreat through the trap(s) they just beat.

Has your party stocked up on a particular expendable piece of gear? Alchemical fire and javelins of lightning can ruin a carefully planned boss encounter. Design your dungeon and pre-boss encounters to tempt (never force) the party to use up some of their resources. Send ten orcs on a doomed charge down a long, narrow passageway. Pack some small rooms with giant spiders. Fill a trough with jellies and oozes.

Just as you plan your sessions for plot and encounters that give everyone's character a chance to shine, and require everyone to let someone else take the spotlight, your DF set-ups can favor characters, or put the party at an advantage or disadvantage. Keep things balanced between the two, and try to give everybody a "favored terrain" somewhere in the set-up.
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Re: How do you plan your gaming sessions to incorporate DF

Post by Stormfury » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:16 am

Figured I'd toss my own comments here as well. While I primarily use DF for D&D, I occasionally use it for war gaming or something like heroscape.

As to how I use it for D&D, I do a combination of massive encounter areas and 'scenes'. In fact my last session, I built an entire town scene on the table, knowing there was zero combat and we wouldn't be in town very long. Since it was the launching off part of the campaign, I simply wanted to set the mode/scene and show off DF and my freshly painted Ships. It's just fun to build sometimes. :) My campaign is a pirate based one, so I built it in such a way that I had a blue cloth on the table and two drawing boards with the city on top of it. This way once we finished the city portion of the session, I was able to easily pick up and remove the city in 2 sections, then we proceeded to the combat encounter in the ocean.

Setting up my town. Wish I'd taken a final pic. :(
Image
Image

And the actual combat encounter:
Image
Image

In general, I try and build key areas where I expect an encounter on foam board or drawing boards for easy pick up and movement to the table.

I've also built a large city area where my players were settling a long lost city. In this case, for a weekend game, while it was the main area but not the only area we played, I used a 2nd table to put the city together and when we had combat on that map, players just got up, placed figures, moved , etc.

It worked out really well and the players were beging me to do another session. When you do 15 or so sizable scenes, you quickly realize you don't have enough DF. LMAO. Just wish I had those ships and KS IV when I ran this campaign. Would have really looked nice against that ruined city.
Image

You can see some of my scenes here.
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