Adventure writers and Dungeon Masters, listen.
Back in July I linked to Dungeon magazine’s advice to avoid stereotypical material when writing adventures. Battling insane wizards at the top of towers, rescuing kidnapped daughters, that sort of thing. Having read some of the adventures of the past three years, I’m going to have to extend that list a little.
Under no circumstances should you write, or even ad-lib, an adventure in which the following occurs:
- An evil, insane, robe-wearing cult is hiding in the sewers/mines/caves underneath the town, where they have somehow built an elaborate temple
- Members of an evil religion attempt to summon their deity to the material plane (this never works)
- A wise, bearded old man, who is usually a wizard and always friendly, helps the player characters out by doing arcane research at a nominal fee (call this the Gandalf rule)
- A statue suddenly comes to life and attacks
That last one is a real pet peeve of mine. Stone golems, gargoyles, animated objects, normal statues protected with animate object traps, normal statues possessed by demons, angry petrified creatures who revert when you enter the room, brand new statue-monsters. There’s nothing wrong with any of these – unless you expect your players to be surprised by such an overused technique. My players now routinely destroy all statues on sight rather than risk one of them being a monster.
Are there any other ridiculously overused adventure ideas you guys are sick of?