Tuesday, February 14, 2012

WIL: Doors are Dangerous

I'm starting a semi-regular series of posts entitled "What I Learned" (WIL for short.)
The idea here is that, as I learn things, I share them. Crazy, right?

Specifically, it has to do with things that I, or my group, are learning while playing old school games. None of us has a real background in old school gaming, but are learning fast by diving in headfirst. As I mentioned in my previous post, this weekend we started an AD&D game. Here's What I Learned from that session...

Doors are dangerous.
Seriously. One of the things that came up as we were building characters was the difference between dungeon-as-malevolence and dungeon-as-natural-structure. We're all familiar with the fact that newer games tend to view dungeons/ruins/castles/the world as neutral in almost every way--it's about what you find inside and what's happening. There is much less of the mystical connection between monsters and their habitat. Since we are starting this game as a dungeon crawl, the DM rightly expounded upon this matter a bit, giving the players a heads up.

Near the end of the session, we found ourselves rounding a corner, moving about 80-90 feet, then rounding another corner. (Heading east, turned south, turned east again.)
Coming from the east we saw four giant centipedes, made a retreat and fire diversion, and the melee types made a stand. Being the Magic User, I backed up even further, trying to avoid death. I took our hired hand, Tim, with me, as he has no real training in combat. We ended up in the first corner, right next to a door.

Turns out if we had just opened that door before rounding the corner, we would have been able to deal with two different monster threats as separate fights. This seems so blatantly obvious to the story lover in me. The part of me that thinks tactically and in terms of actual events can see how careless it was of us to ignore that door. However, the part of me that's accustomed to encounters being designed for the players to win, and to not be interrupted unless "dramatically appropriate" (when is it NOT dramatically appropriate?) completely overrode the rest of my mind on Saturday.

So, in the future, I think that Primus the Magic User will be opening doors before walking by them--or somehow making sure that nothing can chase us through those doors!

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