Wednesday, June 18, 2014

You ignored that place for decades?

One thing that is often hard to get right is figuring out why a dungeon or similar locale hasn't been looted before or dealt with. Often the reasons are contrived. There are several "interesting" places near my hometown, caves, quarries, etc. When I was young it felt like I was the first to discover it especially if none of my friends been there. But once I got older I found yeah people been tramping over these spots for many years.

This is not a big issue but I did think of something plausible that would make a dungeon unnoticed, even if it near a settlement. If the dungeon has a lot of magical creatures or content the combination produces a low level aura. The effect of this aura is that unless you have an express desire to visit the place you unconsciously ignore it. Planning to build a road next to the entrance. The surveyors report they have to swing it out a bit further because of "complication." Clearing brush along the hillside? "Oh that spot can be skipped.

To overcome this aura doesn't require a save or anything like that. You simply have to consciously and knowingly want to go there. For example finding a map and journal about how to enter the place is sufficient.
Tracking a beast or group who used the dungeon lair as an entrance is also sufficient.

I believe the Buffy tv series used a related reason as to why the inhabitants of Sunnydale were obvious to all the supernatural events that were going on.

4 comments:

Dwayne Gillingham said...

I understand your statement. Let us look at it like this. Adventures are above the normal person of the world. Normals would have fear and the fear of death preventing them from entering a place of interest. In PA i am not afriad of an Orc smashing me in the face.

In our roleplaying experience it is very hard to one shot a dungeon or other encounter. Much rest and some times a tatical retreat to regroup are required.

I am sure that there is a whole sub culture of sub par adventures out there that hear the Tomb of Horrors was just cleaned out by the Dragon adventure team and say let us go see what they left behind or missed.

I believe the %of adventures to the numbers of places of interest would determine how often the would be already explored.

This topic brings out several good ideas. a level 1-2 dungeon that was a level 5-7 dungeon that got cleared out.
Wandering monsters of other adventure teams.
encounters of adventures trying to solve the room already.
and of course the corpses of failed adventures.

Kyle Schuant said...

With my dungeons, a common theme is it's a place from centuries ago that was abandoned, and someone recently moved in. That plus some secret doors and traps, and remembering that almost everyone is a 0-level person who just wants to hoe their beans in peace, this normally explains things well enough.

Chris C. said...

I think I totally get what you're driving at.

When I lived in the Washington D.C. area, I never went to the places people go when they visit D.C. So they'd say to me "you've never been to X" (where X is pretty much the monument or tourist site of your choice) and I would blush and say "nope, never."

I've probably visited more sites there since I moved away than I did when I lived there.

Chris C. said...

Which is to say that only since I left have I had a conscious desire to visit those sites.