Mittwoch, Juli 10, 2013

Dungeon Crawls and the Pursuit of Happiness

Character background stories were held high when we left the roads of pre-built adventures and dungeons behind, and hurried on to paths of our own. No more simple fighters, but fighters who had seen horrors in their childhood, whose parents had been murdered, who now seek some kind of revenge, or justice, and on their way to that end become mercenaries bartering their swordskill to almost any employer for a chance to kill. The average Disney character background meets pulp movies.
There was no happiness in the lives of those characters. There was some fun on the side of the players, though, who enjoyed the stories. I can't recall too many characters who pursuit happiness. Generally, happiness was being scoffed at.

Why would anyone crawl dungeons?

Some characters get hired to crawl a dungeon, and they profit from the company, the experience, the gold, and the recommendations - just like shadowrunners.
Other characters want to explore, because they seek knowledge within ancient libraries, artifacts of ancient civilizations that can be used to change contemporary societies, weapons to fight evil, treasure and gold to help build a business, and lead a prosperous life.
Sometimes crawling a dungeon can be a social event, like a road trip with friends. (And not all dungeons are dangerous.)
The motivation generally is not "I hate myself, and thus have to head into the dungeon to be devoured by black pudding."

Now, an expedition like a dungeon crawl requires preparation and planning. And so it happens that one of the player characters in our little Basic Fantasy campaign is a professional treasure hunter. A dwarf. One who knows mines, architecture, ancient languages; a fighter. His companion, a human, one who knows maps, cities, routes of trade; a thief.
There are no horrors mentioned in their background. They recently fought undead skeletons, though, but this will not stop them from exploring the wonders of ancient buildings, setting up trade, digging up long lost treasure, making friends, meeting competitors, or confronting enemies.
Theirs is not a story of revenge (so far ...) They are motivated by the perspective to exploring the lands and ruins surrounding Morgansfort, and they trust their skill to find, or pursue their happiness.

What will they create with the gold they find, and make? What of the experience they gain by spending the gold? We'll see.

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