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Week 1: Activity #2 for ‘Spring 2022 Write Your First D&D Encounter Workshop’

As noted by M.T. Black on the Stoco workshop website, D&D encounters can be categorised using the “three pillars” of:

  • combat
  • social
  • exploration.

M.T. Black also highlights how the three pillars make an encounter unique and dynamic, and although it’s possible to apply all three pillars in one encounter, one is usually enough.

Combat

Because combat is crucial to character progression in D&D, the majority of the rules are related to combat-related activities. M.T. Black describes a combat encounter as an obstacle where a character must fight an antagonist. Black also notes that combat isn’t limited to killing an opponent or inflicting maximum damage while minimising your own. It also includes: rescuing a captive, preventing a ritual, acquiring or destroying an item, protecting an important NPC, getting to an exit, or even sealing off a portal.

Social

According to M.T.Black, a social encounter involves the characters talking to or interacting with someone or something e.g., asking for information, convincing someone to carry-out an action, negotiating a deal, or even influencing a decision – success! As M.T. Black notes, in these cases, the obstacle is another person who is initially disinclined to grant the request.

Exploration

Exploration is a broad type of encounter and as M.T. Black explains, can include activities such as searching for traps and secret doors, solving a riddle or puzzles, finding and following clues, mapping out an adventure area, searching for a lost city, learning about new weird and wonderful things or locations, overcoming hazards and obstacles, and even finding hidden treasure, and more. As long as the exploration involves the character interacting with an object, situation, or location and learning something previously unknown, notes M.T. Black.


Activity#2: Three new encounters, using the three-line format

Activity #2 for Week 1 of the ‘Spring 2022 Write Your First D&D Encounter Workshop’ is to create three new encounters using the three-line format – it’s okay to use the same location, goal or obstacle flavoured to one of the three pillars. Then, share with others in the #ideation-and-organization channel on Discord or using the Discussion feature of the workshop website.

SOCIAL
Location: Mysterious underground cavern
Goal: Work together as a group to find out how to escape from the mysterious underground cavern
Obstacle: Bickering and in-fighting between conflicting personalities, which makes decision making a challenge and threatens to prevent your escape.

COMBAT
Location: Mysterious underground cavern
Goal: As a ramshackle group, defeat unseen creatures and evil forces as you make your escape from the underground cavern.
Obstacle: Varying combat skills among the group and unseen creatures and evil forces

EXPLORATION
Location: Mysterious underground cavern
Goal: Explore all possible escape routes from the underground cavern.
Obstacle: Overcoming booby traps, dead-ends and getting lost as you attempt to make your escape.

My “Activity#2: Three new encounters, using the three-line format” posted to the Discord channel
A variation on my social-based encounter
A variation on my combat-based encounter