April 16, 2010

Quick Hit-Reuse It

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve seen on various sites is to reuse your encounter locations. After the characters have cleared out an old tower/keep/dungeon/corporate building/villain hideout it is a good idea to have someone reclaim the setting. Usually this is a new set of monsters that happen to come across an open pre-made lair. Even more rarely the group of characters will take over the area as a new base. But there is a third option.

There is no reason why a non-monster group could not take over the location. A faction friendly with the players could jsut as easily take over the area. Players will see a new guard tower and boast of how they cleared the tower of goblins. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and that their actions can affect and change the world.

One more reason is so you can reverse the location on the players. One of the more fun adventures I ran was in Shadowrun. One of the first adventures the players went on was to raid a research facility for some information locked inside an internal computer. The party did just fine and accomplished their goal. Many months and adventures later the party was hired by the same research facility to protect it from a group of shadowrunners. I was using the same location again, but this time with the roles of the party reversed. The location was familiar to the players which made them feel like they had an edge; made them feel that they had gained something from their previous adventure beyond just nuyen.

You can do something similar within almost any genre setting. Perhaps the party cleared a tower and its underground lair of goblins months ago. Now it is location of the King’s Guard. In the future the characters are asked by the King to help protect the tower from a necromancer and his zombie army that is heading right for the tower. The players can use their prior knowledge of the towers defenses to bolster it up properly and prepare for any devious tricks the necromancer might try.

So, reuse your locations, but try to keep it entertaining and original.
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