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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground

    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    The Sphere

    d20 So you're back from the dungeon, How do you Handle In-Town?

    Tl;dr: For DMs and Players; How do you prefer to handle getting back to town post Ďdungeoní? What have you seen that works, and what have you experienced that proved beneficial for time and still fun?

    Iím currently DMíing my first 5e table after years of running a SW FFG RPG. Iíve usually ran the first few interactions with RP between General Stores and Inns/Taverns to give example of life. As that sets the vibe and feel of the town. Iíve noticed that after that when players start to go to more unique stores i.e. Armorer, Bookbinders, Churches/Temples. They kind of begin awkward in trying to RP with a mix of asking whatís there. Thus triggering me to detail a scene and RP the entire transaction.

    My last session we started up where we left off, just getting back to town. And the entire three hours was nothing but quest turn-in, shopping/bartering. I was able to get a few rumor hooks out, and give a week of downtime before the next triggering event.

    Donít get me wrong, this allows me to plan the next few maps/mats and add more NPC tokens and stat blocks. Only post session I being to doubt if that was a fun session. My players are roughly ~500xp from level 5 and theyíre foaming at the mouth.

    I do plan to ask them all individually, but I do want to see what the playground community has on the subject.
    Last edited by ScoutTrooper; 2020-02-27 at 08:26 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Apr 2014

    Default Re: So you're back from the dungeon, How do you Handle In-Town?

    If they are only 500xp from 5th...i'd say let their RP and quest turn-ins grant them the missing xp. It prevents having to level up after the next couple events (disrupting session) AND it would be a great time to RP some character flaws to help flesh out the world. Maybe let them have some "downtime" to let them train up a new skill?

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jul 2019

    Default Re: So you're back from the dungeon, How do you Handle In-Town?

    Some people expect the DM to roleplay every single shopkeeper with a unique name and backstory. I tried that at first, but quickly found it was way too much effort and slowed my games down too much. I pick a subset of stores, like one that deals with Thieves Cant speakers and a maybe one that will give out lots of quests like a business bureau/bank/guild hall, and just don't actually make the rest. Instead, I tell the players what items they're able to buy and give them a few minutes to browse the list. Usually, my list is: "anything listed in the PHB" in cities or fully stocked towns. If they have questions, I'm there to answer, but it's also a good chance for them to be creative and familiarize themselves with the item list on their own. Plus, we get a chance to take a break from the game for IRL junk without breaking the pace.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Dr paradox's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Portland, OR

    Default Re: So you're back from the dungeon, How do you Handle In-Town?

    I also spend a lot of time on "in town" time, partially because my players are very into roleplaying and cultivating relationships with NPCs. Still, I tend to find that the best way to handle narratively compelling downtime without getting caught in the weeds is to focus in on a few (2-4) major NPCs who you expect will have the most stake in interacting with the players, and have dynamics between them.

    My set right now is the young woman who was appointed governor, the older knight assigned as her captain of the guard, the citizen who stepped up as Alderman before they got there, and a mercenary who led a bunch of deserters away from a doomed war to settle in town.

    The result is, I can have more clearly focused drama and politics playing out in town as a series of context-rich scenes where shopping is just part of the walk-and-talk. They head to the general store, they find the mercenary captain shmoozing and the alderman trying not to speak up. They go to the blacksmith, they find the captain of the guard asking how many spears the smith can turn out. They go to the leatherworker, they find the governor complaining that he took an order for hauberks from the mercenary captain. The result is you don't need to make the locations or the shopkeepers quite as deep - they're not where the engagement is coming from.

    That way, you have less work, the town doesn't feel barren, and most everything the players run into in town feels connected to a larger story and not like a sideshow. I swear by it.
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