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Week 2: Activity #3 – Create six more three-line encounters for ‘Spring 2022 Write your First D&D Encounter Workshop’ ‘

Activity #3 for Week 2 of the ‘Spring 2022 Write Your First D&D Encounter Workshop’ is to create six more three-line encounters.

It’s okay to use any of the three pillars (social, combat, exploration), but keep the encounters short – it’s just to practice with coming up with new ideas.

Not every encounter idea you come up with will be the most amazing idea ever, and that’s OK; that’s the point! Only by practicing does this process become easier.

Ashley Warren (Brainstorming the Effective Way from Week 2)

My six line three-line encounters

Exploring my encounters through the lens of each pillar – how might the same encounter be experienced as combat, socially or exploratory?

(1) COMBAT
Location: Mysterious underground cavern
Goal: To defeat others from rival clan(s) who are also trapped and trying to escape the cavern.
Obstacle: Battling unknown number and skill levels of rival clan members.

(2) COMBAT
Location:
Mysterious underground cavern
Goal: To defeat an ailing race of indigenous creatures seeking to escape the cavern and take over surrounding area, and then the world.
Obstacle: Battling the creatures in an unfamiliar and unforgiving environment.

(3) SOCIAL
Location: Mysterious underground cavern
Goal: To form a truce with others from rival clan(s) who are also trying to escape the cavern.
Obstacle: Reaching a delicate balance between friend and foe in order to survive – frenemies!

(4) SOCIAL
Location: Mysterious underground cavern
Goal: To befriend and tend to an ailing race of indigenous creatures that that may know how to escape the cavern
Obstacle: Communicating effectively with the creatures who have never seen your character race before, or anyone else for that matter.

(5) EXPLORATION
Location: Mysterious underground cavern
Goal: With great stealth, escape the cavern using one of the many potential routes while avoiding combat and contact with rival clan(s) or creatures.
Obstacle: Being discovered by rival clan(s) and indigenous creatures.

(6) EXPLORATION
Location: Mysterious underground cavern.
Goal: Escape the cavern using the safest route and with the most detailed mapping and details of the underground area so you can return with reinforcements.
Obstacle: Getting lost and limited time to create detailed maps and potential to be discovered by dangerous creatures and rival clan(s) also trapped underground.

My six three-line encounters

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

D&D Maps

Leading up to the start of Write Your First D&D Encounter | Spring 2022 workshop, I’ve been totally inspired by the maps produced and shared for use by Dyson Logos and have started drawing out my own D&D maps for my encounter – it’s been fun to think how I can keep them tight, light and urgent for my encounter.

Break out/Escape – totally inspired by Dyson Logos’ “Page o’ Little Ruins”, which is okay right?
The under to get over – make your way through three levels to get to the surface, if you can…

D&D (at work) #5 An influence system – response

Still playing D&D with my work colleagues, but diverting to an email-based experience while we make our way through a series of short weeks and non-work days in April. It’s still super-fun.

In response to my previously proposed influence system, the DM replied to me with the following…

Simple task

As Shin and the team continue to explore the north in hope of finding what lies beyond the village to the north they come across what appears to be a recently abandoned wagon that seems to have become stuck in the semi-frozen mud.

If you decide to search for those that abandoned it, make a survival skill check at +10.

There is also the question of the contents of the wagon.

If you previously decided TO search for the original owners, Make an investigation check skill check at + 1 as you hastily check for supplies before beginning your search.

If you previously decided NOT TO search for the original owners, Make an investigation check skill check at + 11 as you take your time searching the wagon.In response, the DM replied...
Complicated task

Eutow is a good honest sort and this has attracted the attention of the newer locals who feel they would do a better job of representing them on the village council. As such Eutow has been asked if they would consider running for the role of the village representative. Whether or not they agree to this idea it has brought them to the attention of a number of powerful individuals within the village (both new and old). Eutow will not only need to make a decision about whether or not to run but also if they should engage with any of these individuals.

As this is a complex task there are no binary choices - what should Eutow do?

Update via email: Monday 2 May, 2022

In response to the dice rolls, the DM writes…

Simple task (Survival + d20) = 20.

Shin makes the valiant call that “profits should never come before people” and after a quick search of the wagon, leads a party in search of the survivors. You come across a small band of Snow elves, overcome by the sudden icy winds, that appeared almost out of nowhere. They thank you for the rescue and offer future guidance, when navigating these roads in exchange for being taken back to your village. On the way back one of the quickly heads over to the cart and after rummaging through it, tuck what appears to be a small figurine into their coat.

Simple task (Investigation + d20) = 14.

As one the part has a cursory glance over the cart a number of bottles containing a greenish liquid catch his eye. Hopping that they are of use, they grab 3.

D&D (at work) #4 An influence system

Still playing D&D during lunch with my work colleagues, and it’s still super-fun.

Because of the Easter holidays and combined-long weekends that drifted over multiple Tuesdays, we haven’t been able to meet-up and play. That’s why the DM issues a missive to the players to keep the narrative and player engagement going, via email. The DM wrote…

As you continue to defy the untimely end that fate has bestowed upon you, you find that others seek to aid you in this struggle.

They now look to you for both purpose and direction and as such you can assign them tasks and actions to further your cause.

How it works:

Based on your calculated influence score (see behind the scenes section below) you can do the following.

Begin an multi part task with multiple checks and outcomes using you most capable follower (cohort). This cohort is a level 1 character with all the stats and abilities as if you were playing them in game.

For example you could send you cohort to seek out a rumoured druids grove or hunt down an recently escaped outlaw.

Additionally 

Your skilled followers can undertake a single part task using a +10 to any skill roll needed as part of the task.

And

You slightly less skilled followers can undertake another single part task using a +1 to any skill roll needed as part of the task.

The types of of followers (cohorts can be what ever you want) are based the your highest base ability score. No hard rules here but please make them thematically appropriate to the stat if possible.

What you need to do:

Send a reply to this email in which you:

(1) Make (or simply describe) your cohort
(2) Describe your followers
(3) Tell me what each cohort and follower is doing.

I will do the rest.

Also, please note that you influence score will most likely be adjusted once I have time to improve the system.

Behind the scenes:

Please note this is rough guide and will most likely be updated.

Influence level = Base score + Modifiers

Base score:

Cha level (3) + Highest stat bonus (most likely 4).

Modifiers:

Strong hold +2 (you all have access to this)

Fairness and generosity +1 (this will depend on you characters actions up until now)

Special power +1 (can you do anything the looks visually impressive to the common person)

Influence skill: replace one of your skills with this skill to add your proficiency bonus to it (currently +2).

For example a fair and generous human wizard, who has taken the influence skill would have a influence score of: 13 (3+4+2+1+1+2) 

Therefore he has a follower score of 10/1 and a cohort with whose character level is 1.

Please email with any and all questions.

After my colleague shared their own inspiring example, I was able to create my own.

Cohort of Chungus, the Warlock with an Infernal Bloodline

Eutow

  • Paladin
  • Weapons/Armour proficiency & combat orientated spells – has skills ‘on the tools’.
  • Great in a standalone stoush, but completely unreliable in the long-term.
  • Heard to say… “I gotcha back, but you best to watch your front”.

Shin

  • Bard
  • Solid magic skills, but not the smartest or fastest.
  • Great outside of combat and considered as a “jack of all trades” with abilities in cooking, music & art.
  • Heard to say… “My purity inside is all that’s mine”.

Another 5 members of the Shin Clan (Vert, Nil, Rae, Rsdio, Plone)

  • 1st level Rangers
  • Great at scouting and guiding the party to a destination, but easily distracted and a little self-involved.
  • Heard to say… “There’s a rider that’s fallen and It’s clear there’s no time to return”.
  • Tasks (Simple)

    Shin and the rest of the Shin Clan are scouting for our latest destination that always seems to be just around the corner, through the forest, or even over that distant hill. We’ve all heard that before, right? If they listen to Shin’s guidance and don’t get distracted, they’ll all get us there, eventually.

    Tasks (Complicated)

    Eutow is good to have around to flex and enforce, and certainly isn’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get on the tools, when needed – this seems to be an ever-increasing occurrence.