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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Negative locations

    So I was browsing through Lamentations of the Flame Princess product reviews and stumbled upon an interesting term in a revief of Death Frost Doom - "negadungeon", portmanteu of negative dungeon.

    The review made a point how "ordinary" dungeons seem to carry a promise of reward regardless of their supposed danger. Players have their characters go there to be heroic. There may be risks, but the risks are perceived as being "worth it".

    By contrast, going into a "negadungeon" is transparently a bad idea. It's not worth it.

    The review mused that negadungeons make an interesting addition to any sandbox campaign, because they remind the world doesn't just exist for convenience of the player characters. Hence, such locations make the world feel more alive.

    I find this an interesting point. I've never really thought of making a distinction between positive and negative locations before. But I recognize elements of this in how I run my games. My settings and scenarios have a lot of extra or optional content, things which won't be seen unless the players go out of their way to see them, and for which there's often no good reason to see beyond macabre curiosity. It's been interesting to see how large of a driving force macabre curiosity can be, and how big contrasts emerge between players who choose play it safe versus those who just have to see what's behind the next corner.

    So - negative locations or "negadungeons". Have you used them? Would you use them? What's your opinion them as a concept and in practice?
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    Griffon

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    Default Re: Negative locations

    Your thread title promised so much, but your text didn't deliver anything like I thought it would.

    Negative locations should be locations that not only don't exist, they unexist.

    I'm not sure what that would mean, but it ought to mean something, and it's possibly theoretically useful, like complex numbers.
    Last edited by halfeye; 2016-09-01 at 02:46 PM.
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Negative locations

    I think you are talking about "no promise of reward" meaning that there is no material item or power to gain by going to said place, and that by going there and doing something the players will not be rewarded by a quest giving agent with material items or powers.
    And yes, those places can exist and do have value in a campaign.

    Players motivated by more than material power are well motivated. Maybe there is no physical reward, but they learn something interesting about the world; a rich history and greater understanding of an otherwise vexing mystery. Maybe this place is home to some evil force and even though the job is thankless, the players are happy they stopped it. Maybe they end up dying or trapped there, but their sacrifices ensured the rest of the world was spared. Maybe they will be rewarded in their afterlife by a deity, or some other "gift" that is otherwise intangible during the campaign.

    The last campaign I was in finished with a negadungeon, where all but 2 players died for what might as well had been nothing. We stopped an evil force using a somewhat mechanical guardian from unleashing the big bad evil onto the world or conquering the rest of it. Nobody believed it, and the reason we were sent there was a big can of red herring. The "help" we gave our quest was to help stop a war, but after we gave our lives to save the world the pettier squabbles of the nations seemed less meaningful, but we were all still happy and proud we found out the secret in the north, stopped the BBEG, etc etc etc
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    Default Re: Negative locations

    I've used a lot of plots where wealth wasn't the motivation to go into a dungeon. Once it was to stop the BBEG from getting somewhere due to... information received from the BBEG... who was actively using the PCs in a FF plot wherein he got them to do the work of going through the dungeons for him to shoot them so that he could stroll in at the end and take the power to become a god. Did I mention they were 4 elemental dungeons? So it really was a FF plot. Got halfway through when college broke up the group and no one had realized I was ripping off FF I-V (to be fair none of us had played FF I-V at the time and I was doing it because it was the same basic plot as my first D&D campaign I ever played).

    That said I do often have 'here is a dangerous spot' 'evil lich lives in this tomb, no reason to go in, though' and the like, but if the PCs never have a reason to enter I don't add more than that, it's pointless unless you have a group that for some reason believes there is treasure (in which case it's not a transparently bad idea and there's the promise of reward... and actually at that point it's just the Tomb of Horrors), or that has to go in there for a non-material reason (at which point it's most dungeons since 2e in my experience).

    Oooh I once had a PC find the BBEG (a cleric 3/wizard 3/mystic theurge 17) while at the Spire (anti-magic capital of the D&D multiverse) and the BBEG was not recognized as such and tricked the PC into going down a wrong path into a deadly undead ambush. I guess that kind of counts. I mean there was a reason to be in the cavern system at the Spire, but not that part of it and only a villain's lie gave them any reason to believe it was a good idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    Your thread title promised so much, but your text didn't deliver anything like I thought it would.

    Negative locations should be locations that not only don't exist, they unexist.

    I'm not sure what that would mean, but it ought to mean something, and it's possibly theoretically useful, like complex numbers.
    I had the PCs encounter negacoins being shipped into Sigil to destabilize its economy (they looked like normal coins except would actually destroy coinage if kept in proximity for a while, they were the physical manifestation of the concept of debt) which led them to the edge of a rift of unexistence in reality in one of the gears of Mechanus where the PCs had to stop the shipments of the negacoins. They were smart enough not to touch the non-existence themselves. The PCs put some things around it to stabilize it, which hastened the unrelated BBEG's plot which had caused the rift in the first place. There were 3 BBEG factions, with which the PCs went after deciding which was important and which was self-solved, they went after the guy spinning the Great Wheel. Only one of the PCs ever met the BBEG, as opposed to his hired mercenary with a blood grudge on them, and the BBEG (a mystic theurge) managed to get them killed while in an anti-magic zone via the use of Bluff skill and... well I mentioned this above. They did stop the BBEG through a combination of delivering his notes to the Guvners, the one consistently good-aligned party member (party included a LE Druid-Lich who started as NG*, a CE Aasimar Bard who stopped coming near the end, a TN tiefling scout who slowly veered towards the shallow end of Evil, a CN Alienist who turned CE after developing a love of pure liquid evil, a NG character who was in 2 sessions because their previous Chaotic (picture of a cabbage read as Potato) character was killed by the BBEG, and a LG warblade who jumped on things with a spear and I want to say was named Kain) jumping into the Far Realm with a holy sword blessed by Thor and forged at the Spire to return Mount Celestia to LG instead of the CE it currently was. Alignment was a thing in that campaign.

    *His fall to darkness started when he decided that when the town guard went "resume humanoid form or we will be forced to assume you are a wild bear" the proper answer was "kill the town guard with bear claws and druid magic, then return to human form and eat their eyes to frame a serial killer" later he swore allegiance to Moloch former lord of the 6th and helped him usurp control of the then CG Baator.
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    Default Re: Negative locations

    I had a "Negadungeon" once thrown at the PCs. It was an abandoned wizard's tower, although the wizard in question was very much alive and active (he moved to a better location to make his plans happen). The PCs learned that the wizard left a broken Macguffin behind that they could utilize in making part of the plot easier later on. Outside this item, the dungeon offered no real reward. All the good magical loot was packed in boxes and moved out. All that was left were little things like the liquor cabinet and some loose change by the swamp critters that were squatting there.
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    Default Re: Negative locations

    The OP actually makes it sound like negadungeons are horrible bang for the buck. Yes, there is some dmall value in designing a location just to flesh out the world. But that value is not enough for me to take the time and effort I could've spent to make a positive dungeon or the time and effort I could've spent in putting something worthwhile in my negadungeon to give players a reason to actually visit it.

    But the subsequent discussion after the OP seems to be talking just about dungeons with no material rewards in them. If that's the case, sure. I have tons of those for all the previously mentioned reasons.
    It always amazes me how often people on forums would rather accuse you of misreading their posts with malice than re-explain their ideas with clarity.

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    Default Re: Negative locations

    The way I see it, most dungeons should be thankless. Nobody wants you to go there.

    The dungeon owner (if any) sure as heck doesn't want you there. The inhabitants don't want you there. Both of these will do everything they can to discourage you from visiting, including - as far as practicable - putting most of their easily portable loot somewhere else. (Most likely, in a nice strong bank in a big civilised town. Or just digging a hole and burying it and not leaving a map.)

    With rare exceptions, the local people also don't want you to visit the dungeon, because you'll annoy the owner and residents and provoke retaliation, and they - not you, the adventurer who's already moved on to the next location, but those who live there - are the ones who are going to be enjoying that. Or perhaps because their ancestors are buried there, and that's their family vault you're looting. Either way, dungeoneering is a less than respectable occupation.
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    Default Re: Negative locations

    I make hybrid locations. They have a mild reward up to a certain point, but going further makes things worse.

    In our last session, the group had to recover a passcode to the vault doors in a fort that was built over top of an entrance to the Underdark where goblins were known to spawn. Some goblins had taken the passcode and opened the vault doors and let their cousins up to the surface. Their mission was to retrieve the passcode. Not clear out all the goblins, just retrieve the parchment with the instructions for opening and closing the vault.

    Getting through the first few rooms almost got them killed as they were still level 1 and decided to charge in. After nearly getting killed, they regrouped and tried a stealthier, ambush-style approach. They recovered the passcode and sealed the vault doors and ran back to town to rest and recover. They saw the doors. They saw what was on the other side of the doors. After nearly being killed by a few groups of goblins, they made the executive decision to say "Screw it, it can't be worth it" and turned around to leave, their mission objective completed.
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    Default Re: Negative locations

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    So I was browsing through Lamentations of the Flame Princess product reviews and stumbled upon an interesting term in a revief of Death Frost Doom - "negadungeon", portmanteu of negative dungeon.

    The review made a point how "ordinary" dungeons seem to carry a promise of reward regardless of their supposed danger. Players have their characters go there to be heroic. There may be risks, but the risks are perceived as being "worth it".

    By contrast, going into a "negadungeon" is transparently a bad idea. It's not worth it.

    The review mused that negadungeons make an interesting addition to any sandbox campaign, because they remind the world doesn't just exist for convenience of the player characters. Hence, such locations make the world feel more alive.

    I find this an interesting point. I've never really thought of making a distinction between positive and negative locations before. But I recognize elements of this in how I run my games. My settings and scenarios have a lot of extra or optional content, things which won't be seen unless the players go out of their way to see them, and for which there's often no good reason to see beyond macabre curiosity. It's been interesting to see how large of a driving force macabre curiosity can be, and how big contrasts emerge between players who choose play it safe versus those who just have to see what's behind the next corner.

    So - negative locations or "negadungeons". Have you used them? Would you use them? What's your opinion them as a concept and in practice?
    Depends, unless there's an environmental factor that leads to equipment being destroyed one can expect there to be:

    A) remains of fallen adventurers
    B) supplies/equipment/hordes of any monsters.

    I'm not sure what else would qualify besides some kind of volcano.

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    Default Re: Negative locations

    This is like the "infinity holes" thread -- much less interesting than the title suggested it might be.

    I don't really build locations around "reward structure", but then, I don't build campaigns around loot progression.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Negative locations

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitruviansquid View Post
    The OP actually makes it sound like negadungeons are horrible bang for the buck. Yes, there is some dmall value in designing a location just to flesh out the world. But that value is not enough for me to take the time and effort I could've spent to make a positive dungeon or the time and effort I could've spent in putting something worthwhile in my negadungeon to give players a reason to actually visit it.
    See, this is the sort of intuitive response I'd expect from people on these boards. But in practice, I've found negative locations are just as appealing to my players. As far as the reviewed example of Death Frost Doom goes, it was big enough a hit to basically launch LotFP as a company.

    I wonder if this is a difference in operative environment? I usually run my games in conventions, with each session regularly having a different set of players, so I get extra mileage from players retreading ground of prior players (indeed, this is the key concept of my convention campaigns). So nothing "extra" is superfluous; there's many chances for players to stumble upon it. LotFP, of course, is trying to sell modules, so for Raggi it's about getting your bucks, the bang you get from them can be a whizzle as far as he cares.

    These are both different from having a fixed playgroup.

    But the subsequent discussion after the OP seems to be talking just about dungeons with no material rewards in them. If that's the case, sure. I have tons of those for all the previously mentioned reasons.
    Yes, I do think they're bit of a sidetrack.

    "Everyone died but we still saved the day" is still approaching the dungeon from the viewpoint of the characters being heroes. Such scenario can still be more of a comedy than tragedy.

    At least in the case of Death Frost Doom, no heroism is possible. The characters can't really save the day, they can only make the day worse for everyone. Going there is guaranteed tragedy.

    I think a good signifier of a negative location is a "Pandora's box". Something which is stable and harmless untill some character tampers with it.

    To riff on halfeye's confusion, a good example would be a location which substracts something from the setting - a town, a species, important knowledge, etc. is annihilated by the direct result of the characters going there. Something that makes the characters like they're the bad guys.
    Last edited by Frozen_Feet; 2016-09-02 at 02:20 AM.

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    Default Re: Negative locations

    I only ever came up with one, though originally intended that the entire adventure would be structured around it, it could also just be randomly there:

    Castle Sagranarc:
    No one knows when it was built, who built it, where it came from or why. Everyone goes in never comes out, or comes out insane. Inside, you find that every door you go through stops existing when your all in the next room. From then on every decision you make will have the worst possible consequences that can possibly happen through various scenarios that happen, with no possibility of any of this turning out well.

    An example of what I'm talking about, through the first scenario:

    You enter the first room. there is a message above saying "KILL ALL THE GOBLINS IN THIS ROOM TO RECEIVE UNTOLD RICHES"
    1. Kill all the goblins? Suddenly a goblin mother and her son appear, crying.
    1a: spare the goblin mother and child and you don't get the riches and you go into the next room finding a grown up version of the son come to take his revenge
    1b: kill them both and you receive money and the next room is a town full of people greeting you goblin-skin clothes, selling goblin-bone weaponry and any goblins left alive being treated as cattle for slaughter before they get turned into various goblin-based products. You have all the money, and can only spend it on the gruesome products of ruthlessly killing someone just because they are a goblin.

    2. spare or flee from all the goblins? you don't get riches and you find the next room is a village destroyed by the goblins because you were merciful

    3. make friends with the goblins? you find a bunch of armed humans who call you goblin lovers and want to kill you all, the goblins think you lead them into a trap and want to kill you all to.

    4. blow up the wall to not take any path and leave them be? you find yourself in a room where a bunch of orcs villagers were just minding their own business your explosion just attacked and killed some of them, and they are angry.

    and so on and so forth, rapidly becoming clear the Castle is not a normal dungeon, with reality warping around the PC's as they go through, each decision they make having a consequence that only makes things worse. other things of that nature. that one example is only the beginning of Castle Sagranarc.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Negative locations

    Sagranarc sounds like a sadistic god's ploy to deconstruct the worldview of anyone dumb enough to set foot inside.

    Totally stealing the concept for my next game.
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    Default Re: Negative locations

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Sagranarc sounds like a sadistic god's ploy to deconstruct the worldview of anyone dumb enough to set foot inside.

    Totally stealing the concept for my next game.
    Your welcome to, and yes that is the exact purpose of it: no consequence that won't make things worse, various voices that make the party distrust turn against each other, one voice that speaks to all of them that mocks them for ever thinking anything they do will matter, rooms containing a single treasure that looks different to all of them and corrupts them if they take it and if they don't take it turns out the evil they have to fight can only be killed by it, and if you try to make Pun-Pun all that happens is that you find yourself in a room of infinite cheese and fondue with no magic.

    just general sadistic consequence stuff that if your not careful to only do it in this ONE DUNGEON....will probably make your group hate you or something. you reserve it for this, give all the warnings you can and if they take none of them and go in, they deserve it and then when you start a next time, go back to normal GMing without touching its methods.
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    Default Re: Negative locations

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    I wonder if this is a difference in operative environment? I usually run my games in conventions, with each session regularly having a different set of players, so I get extra mileage from players retreading ground of prior players (indeed, this is the key concept of my convention campaigns). So nothing "extra" is superfluous; there's many chances for players to stumble upon it. LotFP, of course, is trying to sell modules, so for Raggi it's about getting your bucks, the bang you get from them can be a whizzle as far as he cares.

    I think a good signifier of a negative location is a "Pandora's box". Something which is stable and harmless untill some character tampers with
    I'm not following with how a different campaign environment makes the negadungeon a good thing. Perhaps it's because this scenario keeps playing in my mind:

    DM tells the players about a horrible negadungeon by having characters in the campaign refer to it as a terrible place and warning the players not to go there.

    Players subsequently don't go near negadungeon, so you designed something thst never came up.

    Or

    A player suggests going to the negadungeon to check it out... or something. The rest of the players start asking "but, in character, why would we go where people keep telling us not to go?" Since there is no sane response possible, everyone drops the idea and they go to a posidungeon instead.

    Or are the players not supposed to know it's a negadungeon until they finish it?
    It always amazes me how often people on forums would rather accuse you of misreading their posts with malice than re-explain their ideas with clarity.

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    Default Re: Negative locations

    Well the one time I played D&D at a minor little boardgame convention it was a one-shot and I knew it (it was technically the whatever 5e's Living Greyhawk/'official' con campaign thing is but... I enjoyed the game, I did not enjoy the DM, or the restrictions put on the DM by the fact that it was an official con campaign thing) so there was a lot less emphasis on long term reward/risk, and I'd have gone into a dungeon for the danger lols. Where as in normal campaigns people tend to be a little more risk averse.
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    The important thing about Tomb of Horrors is that it's a tournament one shot, not meant to be used in a campaign. It's designed to make people laugh about how everyone is getting killed in improbable ways.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vitruviansquid View Post
    I'm not following with how a different campaign environment makes the negadungeon a good thing.
    I simply mean that with a much greater number of players per campaign, there are much more chances of a player playing a character who decides to go to the negadungeon. So as a GM, my work on one is never wasted.

    Perhaps it's because this scenario keeps playing in my mind:

    DM tells the players about a horrible negadungeon by having characters in the campaign refer to it as a terrible place and warning the players not to go there.

    Players subsequently don't go near negadungeon, so you designed something thst never came up.
    On the contrary: the choice to not go there requires the location to come up. A whole journey can be bases around averting the Bermuda triangle, rather than going there. And once the mass of players grows great enough, you get that one guy deciding "well it can't be that bad" or choosing to there out of morbid curiosity.

    See also: LotR, Moria, Carahdras pass.

    A player suggests going to the negadungeon to check it out... or something. The rest of the players start asking "but, in character, why would we go where people keep telling us not to go?" Since there is no sane response possible, everyone drops the idea and they go to a posidungeon instead.
    Not everyone plays sane characters, or the character(s) might not know how much of a bad idea it is even when the player does.

    Also, read the first post carefully. A lot of ordinary, "positive" dungeons are nominally dangerous places to which there isn't necessarily a good in-character reason to delve into either. Players exercise a degree of meta-awareness and suspension of disbelief when they send their characters there, under the expectation that it'll lead to heroism.

    As such, it seems odd you don't seem to have considered this meta-awareness could have another level, or run into another direction, with players acting in "standard hero way" even when they know their characters will get screwed over by it.

    Or are the players not supposed to know it's a negadungeon until they finish it?
    Mu. It's possible to deceive players like that, but I'm personally interest in the scenarios where the player 1) knows the location is negative and 2) sends their character there anyway.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Negative locations

    Sounds to me like negadungeons could be used very effectively for escaping from them. Could be the PCs themselves who want to get out ASAP, or they could want to spring someone from it.
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    Default Re: Negative locations

    That's very dangerous. Trapping the PCs in a place that is meant to be lethal and mean and not giving them the option to walk away from it seems like a strong candidate for ruining campaigns.

    I think they work best when the only people the players have to blame are themselves. A GM doing agood job would be tempting the players with something they know is not good for them but the place just seems so alluring.
    Last edited by Yora; 2016-09-02 at 12:59 PM.
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    Default Re: Negative locations

    This just is making me think about running games with Sensates

    Hey you should go into that dire bear cave!

    Why?

    I need dire bear skeletons and you could get to experience fighting dire bears!

    (The scout almost died.)

    My familiar eats the mysterious pie we found in the serial killer's house! It has eyeballs in it and it's a raven. (and OoC they wanted to know what happened)

    Well we've found 4 traps in the entry hall, but I see a few gold coins in the stove. (they searched it for traps, they found one... of two)

    Well the stove was trapped with an obvious trap and another trap, but surely the chamber pot isn't trapped!

    These people we found in the Gray Wastes of Hades are rather suspicious, and pale, we think they might be vampires, but the party is half dead anyway and they did offer to have us over for dinner. (they were vampires, one of the party members got dominated and the scout almost killed the wizard for the 2nd of 3 or 4 times that campaign)

    Actually I think the vampire house is the truest of the negalocations in there. There was no reason to go in except the obviously suspect offer of dinner, and the party was pretty beat up already, and it was literally in a Hell dimension (even if the Hell dimension was sick at the moment and Chaotic Neutral-Evil instead of Neutral Evil), and it was just 'let's eat dinner with the vampires, they might be Chaotic Neutral at the moment and just try and kill us for food anyway...'

    Actually the next campaign with many o those players had them discover the town had been taken over by aberrations and go on into it to... acquire strategic information about the enemy (and maybe save the town). This was a bad idea, but it was also a cost/reward thing (how much info could they gain? How important was it to kill this outpost?) and more of an overestimation of reward coupled with an underestimation of cost, at the same time the main reason was 'hey the bad guys are here'.

    One also got into a drinking contest with one of the trio of BBEGs (the BBEGs were fighting each other) for no reason other than what the hell.
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  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Negative locations

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    That's very dangerous. Trapping the PCs in a place that is meant to be lethal and mean and not giving them the option to walk away from it seems like a strong candidate for ruining campaigns.
    It can work, but it needs a different paradigm than normal. Namely:

    1) the game revolves around this location and characters are meant to come and go. Example: a high lethality campaign about the Vietnam war, such as "Charlie ei surffaa", a Finnish convention campaign running for 20 years and counting.
    2) the game is horror or tragedy and the forced negative location is the culmination of the campaign. Examples: Call of Cthulhu RPG

    The version where there's someone else trapped in a negative location could work in a more traditional sandbox. Prisons of all sorts are good example. Especially if the character would get out later anyway, which would serve to make transparent that the players don't really have to be involves.

    For one-shots, starting at a negative location is not much of a problem. The allure then is just in seeing how far you can survive. Examples: Tomb of Horrors tournament module.

    I think they work best when the only people the players have to blame are themselves. A GM doing agood job would be tempting the players with something they know is not good for them but the place just seems so alluring.
    This, I agree with. In character-driven campaigns, this is more or less how it has to be.

    The "dinner invitation from Vampires" Zaydos posted is a beautiful example. Reminded me of my group's playthrough of Red&Pleasant Land, where one player just really wanted a vampire boyfriend for her character, despite everything everywhere telling it was not a good idea. Predictably, the character ended the game as a vampire thrall.
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
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  23. - Top - End - #23
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Negative locations

    You know, rather than there use as people going there, I actually like the idea of there just being bad decisions. I mean it depends on the setting. You could just have a dungeon that is too high level for you. Or you can actually have an area that is just is and always be a bad idea to go to.

    Maybe it is not super-obvious, if they go there it is a matter of them realizing that they shouldn't be there and run away. Maybe it is obvious and then it becomes a soft wall that you have to go around.

    I think that it is a useful idea, especially when you are considering filling out a map of options. Actually going there is the less interesting question to me.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Dragonexx's Avatar

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    Default Re: Negative locations

    From the OP's description, it sounds like negalocations have no reason for going there, and do nothing beneficial for you. If there's a plot reason, then it's not a negative location. Basically it's something that just harms you for no benefit. Like this.

    Pokemon Mystery Dungeon D20: A system designed for adventuring in a Pokemon Mystery Dungeon world.

    The Review/Analysis Thread: In-depth reviews of various games and RPG products.

    The New/Redone Monsters Thread: Taking bad or bland monsters and making them more interesting and challenging.

    Yu-Gi-Oh!: Realms of Myth: In the world of monsters, Winda and Wynn go on an "epic" journey to find the legendary Dark Magician.

    Keys to the Contract: A crossover between Madoka and Kingdom Hearts.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: Negative locations

    Why wouldn't an abandoned dungeon or keep (or whatever) have already been raided and stripped clean? An abandoned keep or dungeon have great value even if there's zero loot, they are defensible position to take up residence.
    Black text is for sarcasm, also sincerity. You'll just have to read between the lines and infer from context like an animal

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Zaydos's Avatar

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    Default Re: Negative locations

    The real thing isn't abandoned locations, but inhabited ones in which the inhabitants are either minding their own business (a lich's tomb in which the lich performs experimentation on magical principles the vengeance which drove him to undeath long since carried out), doing harmful things that do not harm those under the PCs protection (said lich raids the surrounding countryside for passer-by dragging them into his tomb to experiment upon them, but the PCs have no way or reason to know this because they're just passer-by and he didn't try and drag them off), or rather obvious traps (said lich, with blood dripping from his hands, invites the PCs into his ambush filled lair for tea).

    It's sort of like a lot of the caves in Morrowind which were pretty much pointless and just had bandits who'd try and kill you. I hunted those out to kill bandits and on the off-chance of a plot hook, but the loot was bad, the XP was bad, and really it was just a bloody fight that might get you killed. They took them out for the most part in the later TES games.
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