Running a D&D Game with a Go-To Adventure

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Getting Started with Dungeons & Dragons
Make Combat More Interesting with Monster Abilities for D&D Creatures and NPCs

As Dungeon Masters in any Dungeons & Dragons campaign it is our responsibility to guide the story and assist in the entertainment and fun of everyone at the table when running a D&D game. If you ask around, a lot of people say they are daunted by the amount of work that can go into being a DM or Game Master. And for some that may be true. Today I wanted to talk about having a go-to adventure that can twist and change with a few or more variables, which you can pull out of your pocket when you are unexpectedly called to run a game. It could be you are hanging out with friends on a non-RPG night or you might be at a convention hangout and you decide to get your game on.

go-to adventure running a D&D game
Nerdarchist Ted’s go-to adventure takes inspiration from Betrayal at House on the Hill for a variable adventure suitable for any level characters at any time.

Go-to adventure for running a D&D game

I have been cultivating my Haunted Mansion game for years. I have made it so there are 8-10 possible plots inside the mansion, and each time I have run it the players have stumbled onto the plot in a different way and had a different plot to run against. I have taken a lot of inspiration from my favorite board game: Betrayal at House on the Hill. The game has had a lot of success in its own right with two expansions to the already prodigious amount of playability in the main game itself. I have even gone so far as to use the tiles from Betrayal at House on the Hill itself to allow the characters to move about the house and build it out as they go using the tile stack mechanic directly from the game.

Nerdarchist Dave has run the Maze of Mandoon many times for various groups. This winds up being his go-to game he can adjust as he needs to to make it work for whatever level game he needs to run, just as I can. The maze itself can present visually differently as he sees fit and has a wide variety of monsters and hazards to threaten the characters as they progress towards the exit.

In each game we have the ability to run it as something different each time, so even if you have played before there will be no spoilers or easy way to just solve the issue.

Building a go-to adventure

The first and foremost thing you have to decide is coming up with a concept that can be inserted anywhere, any time you’re running a D&D game. The mansion can appear in town or out in the wilderness as I need it to and can look like anything it wants. Nerdarchist Dave’s game makes players wake up in the maze so whenever or wherever they go to sleep they appear in the maze.

The next thing is something that will change or have variables, both visually and mechanically, and be able threaten characters of variable levels. If your dungeon, maze, demon house, or whatever your adventure is can appear anywhere then you can add different monsters or challenges fitted to the level of the characters. Now, some things can be changed on the spot while other things can be made in advance so when you are ready to run you pull it out and go.

I am still writing up my mansion game but if you want to grab Nerdarchist Dave’s Maze of Mandoon you click over to the store and check out all of our great digital products for sale.

Do you have a go-to adventure? In the video below, I discuss the concept with filmmaker Brian Stillman, who shares his thoughts and insights on having a go-to adventure, including his own Monkey’s Mad Dash adventure. Please share your own go-to adventure ideas or what this article inspired you to do for running a D&D game in the comments below. Thanks for reading and until next time, stay nerdy.

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Follow Ted Adams:
The nerd is strong in this one. I received my bachelors degree in communication with a specialization in Radio/TV/Film. I have been a table op role player for about 20 years 17 of which with the current group. I have played several itterations of D&D, Mutants and Masterminds 2nd and 3rd editions, Star wars RPG, Shadowrun and World of Darkness. I am an avid fan of books and follow a few authors reading all they write. Favorite author is Jim Butcher I have been an on/off larper for around 15 years even doing a stretch of running my own for a while. I have played a number of Miniature games including Warhammer 40K, Warhammer Fantasy, Heroscape, Mage Knight, Dreamblade and D&D Miniatures. I have practiced with the art of the German long sword with an ARMA group for over 7 years studying the German long sword, sword and buckler, dagger, axe and polearm. By no strecth of the imagination am I an expert but good enough to last longer than the average person if the Zombie apocalypse ever happens. I am an avid fan of board games and dice games with my current favorite being Quarrios.

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