So recently, I had the pleasure to experience an excellent dungeon, unique and tailored to our party. But it wasn’t like that the first time we went in…
To set the scene, in our “Baddies” pathfinder game we worked for a massive Black dragon and in his service and been tasked with venturing into an ancient temple to awaken an army of slumbering warriors to help fight off an army of musket wielding gnolls. Pretty standard stuff. The dungeon was well put together, a flavourful but easy initial encounter to get us warmed up. Then things went a little downhill. Our half-orc barbarian ran one way, our goliath hunter ran the other. The goliath got into a fight so we all ran after him and helped him beat an animate tree root that was actually quite an easy encounter. The barbarian meanwhile came across a pair of violet fungi that proceeded to melt a large chunk of his flesh from his bones, forcing him to flee after a vast amount of stat damage to his con and strength, so much in fact that he was no longer even as strong as my tiny ratfolk wizard. We chugged some potions, finished off the fungi, got attacked by a giant burrowing crocodile thing and basically just continued to have a bad day. By this point, we were on death’s door so we decided to regroup, heal and try again in a few days time. So we left.
This is where the dungeon went from being good to excellent. We came back, refreshed and now working properly as a unit. But things had changed. The entire dungeon was covered in a miasma of violet spores. The enemies we’d previously killed had been infected by the fungus and given new life, mutating them, forcing us to fight them again. The Hodag (the crocodile thing) had also succumbed to the fungus and been changed and altered by the spores. I’m not doing it justice here but it was fantastic and the best bit was when we realised what had happened and the fact that it had been our fault for not burning the god damned fungi.
The best thing about that dungeon wasn’t the fact that it was built for us, because in a way all dungeons created by the DM are built for the party. The really cool thing was the fact that our actions shaped it in a very real way. The change wasn’t a big thing in terms of the plot or the grand scheme of the world, but it was a real change and it was directly because of us. So to all DMs out there. When you see an opportunity to use your parties actions to make things unique, do it. It makes their tears all the sweeter when it’s their own doing 😉
p.s. Want to hear more of my musings live through your day? Follow me on Twitter!