As a Dungeon Master, I strive to create challenges for my players. However, sometimes my plans don’t work out; I tend to underestimate my players and in turn create a game that is easy for them to overcome with minor obstacles.
However, one simple thing changed that: a tweet that I stumbled upon.
I usually tend to laugh at tweets I come across and then scroll past them, but this one, in particular, caught my eye. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d actually used a maze as a Dungeon Master because I usually create cave systems that are somewhat easy to navigate. However, this idea was too good to pass up, and I decided that it would be in my best interests to try it out.
The game started out like any other one-shot as the player characters carefully began trying to map their way throughout the dungeon. They were all Level 3, and the party consisted of an Elf Wizard, a Firbolg Druid, and a Goblin Fighter. The trio took their time in the dungeon, but what they didn’t realize was that there were six dead ends in the maze and each one had a Gelatinous Cube waiting for them. As a Dungeon Master, it was interesting to watch their reactions to seeing them: the tweet perfectly predicted that they would ignore them due to their low speed, and they pressed onwards, making comments about the “real danger” that they speculated was at the end of the maze. It was funny to watch them weave through it, and eventually, they came to a large room with a ladder that led out of it. The Elf was the first to comment that it was weird they didn’t encounter deadlier foes, while the Firbolg shrugged it off and called it a “stroke of good luck” that they didn’t encounter anything worse. Meanwhile, the Goblin was staying quiet, listening to the two argue as he paced around the room and looked for traps.
The party was quiet when they heard a low cacophony of noises getting louder through the halls, and that was when they realize they’d messed up.
One Gelatinous Cube wasn’t much of a challenge, but six? I watched the players’ faces drop as they realized they’d have to fight all of them. The Wizard, of course, wasted no time to cast Fire Bolt at the slowly approaching herd of deadly cubes. Meanwhile, the Druid and Fighter began backing up towards the ladder, not caring if they left the Wizard behind as long as they’d survive.
As the Goblin Fighter began climbing up the ladder, he paused as he heard a sound come from above. A Gelatinous Cube slowly inched down towards him, and it unsuccessfully tried to engulf him. The Goblin instead tumbled down the ladder and landed prone on the ground as the Cube continued, and the Druid successfully dragged him away from it before he could become engulfed again. Meanwhile, the Wizard was fighting a losing battle and became engulfed, unable to break free due to his low Strength score. The Goblin and Firbolg paused for a moment to wonder whether they should save their party member before deciding that the Gelatinous Cube was having a good enough time without their involvement, and they began to take down the cube that blocked their exit. While the Goblin Fighter and Firbolg Druid were barely able to escape, the Elf Wizard met a disgusting and horrifying fate.
I’d imagine this is how the Elf felt as he watched the rest of the party scatter…[/caption]
Overall, I’d say that this was one of the most challenging games I’ve ever hosted, and I would suggest that other Dungeon Masters should try this idea at least once. It was entertaining to watch how the player characters interacted with each other and to see their confusion as they closed in on the exit of the dungeon. It was a really fun experience, and I am glad I decided to try a game idea based on a tweet.