Sunday, 15 November 2015

Exploration and "skip to the fun"

[QUOTE=Quickleaf;6757524]I can't help but feel like sitting in on some old school style play would do you good. I'm stunned that any DM would claim "exploration = nothing to do" or "exploration is the boring stuff between encounters."[/QUOTE]

This is what James Wyatt says in the 4e DMG in his 'skip to the fun' advice.
The 5e DMG by contrast classes exploration as one of the three pillars of play.

Exploration can of course be boring - IMO combat can be boring too. Even social interation
can be boring - endless low stakes in-character negotiation with shopkeepers to buy
supplies, say. It comes down to GMing techniques such as using appropriate time-scaling for the environment. If a maze or similar area is truly empty and looks dull, even though it's fully mapped out
I'll typically say "ok, an hour later you have negotiated your way through the maze..."  - just as I'd skip buying supplies or a day of uneventful travel. There are loads of poorly written adventures where exploration is a chore; the Dungeon Crawl Classics are often quite bad that way. OTOH exploration of
well-detailed, interesting environments can evoke that elusive Sense of Wonder and be
one of the best parts of the game, and early TSR modules like In Search of the Unknown
and (orange-cover) Palace of the Silver Princess often had fascinating environments to explore.
Some modern writers create great dungeons to explore, eg Dyson Logos with his wonderful maps can key a map in a couple of pages that creates something very interesting. Others create dull series of rooms that a computer could generate. If your adventure is like the latter, then 'skip to the fun' may be good advice.

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