A Walk in the Dark A look in to the mind of an RPG designer



Encounter: Hall of Spiders

We Xogo recently had a "Create an Encounter" contest. Unfortunately I didn't win, but I figure the following encounter should not be wasted.

During the development of my campaign quite a lot of things have changed. Rooms have been added and removed, creatures have changed drastically, the plot has been altered five different ways, etc...

The main reason is that certain things look good on paper, but when it comes to actually using them in a game it doesn't quite work. Many a time I have thought of a really cool idea that I wound up trying to railroad in the the D&D 4e mechanic, and the end result isn't quite what I had hoped. And some things that do seem to fit perfectly end up being a disaster when it comes to playtesting it.

On the massive external hard drive I use to keep all my campaign information I have one folder called "Legacy", which is where maps go to die. But just because they don't fit in to my campaign doesn't mean they'll never see the light of day. Maybe someone out there could use them... Someone like you!

So this will probably be an ongoing series of mine where I provide encounters or scenes that are disassociated from the rest of my campaign, and because I have no immediate plans to use them they aren't "spoilers". Maybe someone out there will breathe new life in to them.

The Hall of Spiders

One of the focal points in my campaign is, without giving too much away, a dungeon with very strong divine and arcane influences that has been abandoned for hundreds of years. In these environments there are generally three different things you can find: undead that simply refuse to die, strange creations infused with arcane energies or nature simply taking residence in a nice comfy place. This is the latter of the three.

This encounter was the very first encounter I developed for my campaign, at a time when I had no idea what the rest of the zone was going to contain. I didn't even know what this was the entrance to... A castle? A lair? The local inn?

After everything else in the zone was developed, this seemed horribly out of place. And the fact that it came immediately after a complicated encounter with a lot of enemies didn't help; I know some would argue that it goes against some sort of DM's obligation, but I simply didn't want to keep slamming the PCs with encounter after encounter.

Originally this had a fixed amount of minions, which you are most certainly welcome to do to simplify your life (I had six Spiderlings in the original design), but recently I read the article by Mario Podeshi on Save Versus Death called "Endless Hordes" Minions and I wondered "why does the number of spiderlings have to be finite?"

So here it is... The Hall of Spiders (Level 4+ Encounter)


Enjoy! If you do use it, or make any modifications to it, do let me know.

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  1. Although you didn’t win the contest I intend on adding this campaign to our future “RPG Resources” section. You should send me a follow up email with this blog address so that I remember to link back to you.

    Again, thanks for the entry!

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