[Lamentations of the Flame Princess] Dungeon Crawl Tension

Started by Bret Gillan, March 20, 2012, 09:59:36 PM

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Bret Gillan

I have never gotten to play classic dungeon crawls! I grew up in a household where D&D was forbidden, so I learned about roleplaying through other games like Marvel Superheroes, Toon, and Bughunters. Last Tuesday was my first ever old school style crawl. The thing that was surprising to me was how much more tense and freaked out I was than any other game I'd played. While I've played plenty of games that have a sense of moral horror, nothing has beat this in terms of sheer nailbiting tension though Murderous Ghosts has come close.

I was playing with Thor O GMing, and my fellow players were Topi, Joss, and Jared. All of them have had more dungeon crawling experience than me (though Joss only by a couple sessions). It was made very clear up front that our characters could and would die, and Jared's character actually died from poison at the end of the session from sniffing poisonous green slime. The module (Death Frost Doom) was totally atmospheric and very well written, but the two things that made me legitimately anxious and afraid while playing seemed to be:

1) A willingness to engage in that kind of anxiety. Not dismissing my character's life as ultimately replaceable by a new character. The experience/level system totally helped here by fostering investment in the character's ongoing survival.
2) The ability to die through actions that do not appear to be missteps.

Murderous Ghosts, I think, shares both of those properties. It was really fun and I'm anxious to see if our second session tonight has those same qualities.

Callan S.


I've been playing AD&D recently at a local gaming club. If it's any similar, I think, assuming there's any room for emphasis in the game, is creating some sort of legacy for the character. Buy an inn and name it after the character. Build an orphanage. Because unlike alot of other games you're not going to live and be fabulous forever (or not likely to). You can't rely on people remembering your character purely because your character happens to still be alive. That said the wandering vagrant style of play might be in both and if you buy an inn then the group crosses half the country, who's going to remember?

Second is that if atleast a few higher level people live, new lower level characters can ride on their coat tails up into the higher levels far easier than they otherwise could. This is kind of another legacy, where you try to get the overall group up to higher levels because if you do die, your next character has a much higher chance of getting to higher levels when he joins the other higher level players. Not that you don't want your first character to make it on the first go. But in the case of both legacies, there's a certain melancholic type of hope that's worth experiencing.