Relax and enjoy the crawl: how CSI-esque behavior by the players can spoil the dungeon crawl experience

Relax and enjoy the crawl: how CSI-esque behavior by the players can spoil the dungeon crawl experience

If there’s something that I don’t like anymore, over the years of playing and running OSR/OS games (and I don’t know if I ever liked it) is: the fear of exploration due to traps and surprises during the dungeon crawling.

When players understand the playstyle and how ten foot pole exploration works, it can often cause the real focus of exploration in the dungeon crawl to be lost.

Of course, this is all according to my experience and opinion. What I think is best about the dungeon crawl is the exploration experience itself. And by exploration I mean: looking at how and why this structure exists geologically, architectonically, socially and how it was organized around that.

When someone wants to visit/explore, even as a tourist, a new (possibly dangerous) place, something like the history of the place and its origin and even a contemplation of the environment to understand the place in a broad way, will not only help to avoid dangers and even understand the challenges, but to give mean to the delve.

The delve doesn’t have to be an Indiana Jones-style exploration, with traps and adrenaline all over it. If it’s still unclear, my point is: When too much time is wasted in anticipating danger and even avoiding it, this kind of exploration can get lost.

If the dungeon is a rock formation, its geological origin can be explored metaphysically into how the “gods shaped” that location, or how the geological history of this place resulted with this formation; still how and why the current inhabitants explored and shaped the dungeon. If it is a construction, more history can be explored and revealed. All of this can be linked to a metaplot, so that hooks, new revelations and insertions of this larger plot can be presented here. That’s why I think it’s not just a matter of survival, but of moving on with the fiction and story.

It’s clear to me that survival and looting tournament OS playstyle may have guided all of this. This can be fun for an unassuming one shot, very close to a survival board game-ish dungeon exploration game. But I personally expect a little more density in a campaign or an adventure.

Another criticism similar to the one above, is to only focus on hack and slash exploration, I really don’t like it. I think it might just be me, and I might be giving a lot of expectation on a simple dungeon crawl, but I’d really like a whole plot built around it.

So, although your PC will most likely die, relax and enjoy the crawl!


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