Need help with my next adventure

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ok so i have just recently started my first ever campaign which side note if nyone can hook me up with tips for a first time campiagn runner it be sweet. Anyway there has been this reacurring henchmen that the players have been dealing with so bascily the next adventure i would like to capture the players and strip them of their gear and put them in a old mine system that has been set to blow uptrapping them inside if they do not make it out in time. Question is what time limit should i give them? I have not had any experience in timed events before so any suggestions to make this work or even make the story better would be great.
           Also should i just make it so all the party is captured or let them roll for it and only some of them be captured and others have to try to find their friends?  
   
The best advice you can get on this is: do not capture the characters. Players hate that.

If you don't see any other way to do what you want, talk to the players. Get their buy-in to the idea of having their characters captured. If they are into the idea, they'll help make it work. If they're not, which most players won't be if it's just sprung on them, they'll probably try to get out of it and you'll have to block their creativity.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

mainly the goal is that they went against this npc a few advetures ago and im trying to figure out a good way of brining him back ito the path of the players.
mainly the goal is that they went against this npc a few advetures ago and im trying to figure out a good way of brining him back ito the path of the players.

Anything is better than capturing the characters. Have this NPC mastermind some heists committed by a tribe of goblins or something.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

We started off a game with a captured character and the others trying to save him, but the player was in on it and liked the idea. He also understood his opportunities to escape and arm himself would be quick and plentiful.
Seconding the "Don't capture the players" .
Also, if you do use the idea of the collapsing mine, makes sure you can think of something interesting to happen if they don't get out in time. You don't want them to just die or starve in the mine.
 

"Encouraging your players to be cautious and risk-averse prevents unexpected epic events and-well-progress at a decent pace in general."-Detoxifier

"HOT SINGLES IN YOUR AREA NOT REGENERATING DUE TO FIRE" -iserith 

"If snapping a dragon's neck with your bare hands is playind D&D wrong, then I don't want to play D&D right." -Lord_Ventnor

Collapsing mine cuts off escape route, but opens path to abandoned city below ...
How to Capture the Characters Properly: "Hey guys, do you think it would be fun if we played a scenario in which you were captured, stripped of your gear, and then you have to escape?" If the answer is "Yes," then start the scenario with them having already been captured, stripped of their gear for reasons you and the players agree on, open with action and go from there. If the answer is "No," then you've saved yourself a lot of heartache.

As for the collapsing mine, what happens if they don't make it out in time? If you can answer that in an interesting way (for everyone), then how you do it doesn't matter too much because failure will be just as fun as success.

Overall, it sounds like a skill challenge to me. In fact, I'd probably write the whole adventure as a skill challenge with some complications that could be tactical combat, if the players chose to solve the problem in that fashion.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

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Remember that scene in The Wire when they ask McNulty where he doesn't want to go when he's being transferred?  Yeah, do that, but let the players know that the bad thing is what will happen.  Basically, I'm recommending that you ask the players if said NPC was to come back in the game, and he really wanted to get at the players what could he do to earn their ire and put the PCs in a spot.  Then see if you can build an adventure around that idea.  There's a pretty big chance you can still use the mine idea, say the players would really hate it if the NPC twirled his moustache while some beloved NPC was tied to the tracks in the mine.  PCs go to the rescue to find that it was a ruse to put them hundreds of feet underground while the demo charges start.  That's a really bad example, but I bet you get the idea.

People have already given you good advice, so I’ll just add my two cents as well.


If you want to do a collapsing mine that is fine, in fact I think it is a very clever idea; but there are other ways to get your characters there, maybe a quest takes them inside to get something, but once they achieve their quest the NPCs show up behind them laughing as they light the fuse.


As for how long it should take, that’s really up to you, I would design it as a skill challenge myself and just say that if the players pass the challenge they got out in time, if not they are trapped.


Echoing above, you need to think of the plan B to get them out of there if they fail, but some small role-playing can fix everything. Maybe there is a tunnel that goes down into the Underdark, and the player will have to descend even deeper into dangerous territory before to try to find an alternative way out.


Also,  Insight is a wonderful skill I use it for many outside of social uses, the key one is to estimate turns and time.


Ex- The players see the fuse lights and race off into the darkness, the Player asks if they know how long it will take to reach the charges. The DM asks the player to roll Insights, let’s assume the player passes a hard DC.


DM “Hrrm you remember from your academic teaching that a fuse burns 5ft for seconded in normal conditions, doing some quick math you realize you only have X Turns/Seconds before it blows up.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/1.jpg)

I'm going to give you the oppiste advice of most of these replies. 

You don't need to ask the players if it's allright to throw their characters into "interesting" situations.
They're playing D&D.  They expect it.  Or they should.

So if you want them captured & thrown in a mine?  Capture them & throw them in a mine.

I'd suggest setting them up for this at the end of a session cliff-hanger style. 
ex; Parties returned from some foray or another (played out during the evening of course) & are out on the town celebrating.  They get jumped.  Or they get their drinks drugged.  {If "down-time" like this isn't generally played out in your group?  Then you might need to have an NPC invite them out/to discuss a new job/look at the odd artifact that they brought back, etc.} 
Either way, just as they're about to go down (and they are going down) they get a save or spot check or whatevers appropriate to the edition your running.  Failure = they go down.  Success = they see the NPC gloating as they go down.
And then you end the session & hand out xp for the evening.

Next session?  They wake up stripped/robbed & in a mine.   Maybe dangling from the ceiling as if they're bait for something.... 
If any of them made that save then they've got a pretty good idea who's to blame for this situation.  Otherwise you'll want to have some additional ways of cluing them in.

As for the mine exploding?  Sure, the BBEG might light the fuse.  But I'd set any mine collapse up as the result of something the party triggers.
{in older editions there's this cool thing called an Apparatice of Kwalish.  It's basicly a small submarine in the shape of a lobster.  Complete with working legs & claws.  BUT!  What if in your game you made a mining version of it!  And the PCs discover it & fiddle with it & activate it.  But cant shut it down(because they're lacking their usual gear)!  And it begins running rampant in the depths of the mine.  and an then appropriate PC realizes that it's going to bring this place down on top of them....  Enter fleeing upwards, dead ends, hazards/traps, maybe some desperate fights with other mine inhabitants as the PCs charge into/through their "territory", and a final dash for daylight etc} 
And, much like the beginning of this adventure?  You should make it so that their escape/failure to escape the collapsing mine occurs just at the end of a session.  The PCs get to the exit & you ask them for a saving throw.
You note it down & hand out the evenings XP.

Next session?  You reveal what the results of this saving throw were. 

*You must come up with something more interesting than "You're crushed to death" to have happen in the case of the party not escaping the mine collapse. 
Or becoming split between escapees & not escapees.  
The reality is that players sometimes react badly to being forced into interesting situations. More recent games realize this and give the players incentives for being put (or putting themselves) in interesting situations. Go forth with this at your own peril.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

So if you want them captured & thrown in a mine?  Capture them & throw them in a mine.



I've seen a lot of complaints from players that start out with "So, our DM captured us and then..."

OP: Know that this scenario in particular is not well-received by some players. They may resist you and turn your game into something that, believe me, you don't want. Ask if they're interested in this before you spring it on them. Your big reveal is not worth their lack of engagement or resistance to your premise.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

thanks for the advice, everyone had good points to toss into the pot. as it goes i was thinking of the whole roofie in the ale sense my players tend to sit at the tavern and get hammered anyway. I also had the idea of the mine being a old dwarvin mine system and if they fail the explosion will seal them in and possiblely open up another path that goes deeper in the mine network then it becomes a fight to find a way out. one of the party is a dwarf so i figure mabey he would know how the mine was made and be able to find alternet route to toss some rp in it really. deep down i feel the players would be ok with the captuering they are use to me throwing messed up situations at them, but i do see were you are coming from with them not liking it.

         i did not think to leave it to a cliff hanger tho an that is a great idea thank you for it. i will definitly do it like that but the big desicion i struggle with is do i make a time limit for the fuse or go with the skill challenge road and if they fail a set of them then they are trapped. if i was doing timed i was literally going to set a timer for whatever amount of time and make them play under alot of pressure as the clock is ticking down. on the other hand having it set as a skill challenge with them not really knowing that it will effect them getting out or not is also a cool idea but not sure how to do it as i am not the best skill challenge maker. anyway thanks again guys and please forgive spelling just got home from work very tired so i have a case of the dumb ass lol.
thanks for the advice, everyone had good points to toss into the pot. as it goes i was thinking of the whole roofie in the ale sense my players tend to sit at the tavern and get hammered anyway.



The first time you ever drug your PC's, they will want to use magic to detect poison on every food and water they see. They will ultimately change their behavior to never have it happen again. Trust me, it is never worth it.

This is akin to the rule that after the eighth trap in the dungeon, Bob and Sally decided to move the entire party at a pace of "one square a turn", each turn spending a full round action to prod every inch with a 10 foot pole, while casting detect magic. Was it boring? Well, lets put it this way; They never found another trap again.



Edit: On second thought, maybe you should have a quest giver set it up for them; "I will spike your drink, they will see you pass out, take ya to the mines, my guy on the inside can help you move around once you're there...  What do ya say? Ill pay ye double."



Within; Without.

...Edit: On second thought, maybe you should have a quest giver set it up for them; "I will spike your drink, they will see you pass out, take ya to the mines, my guy on the inside can help you move around once you're there...  What do ya say? Ill pay ye double."



That's a novel work-around.  I like it
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
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  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
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  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
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thanks for the advice, everyone had good points to toss into the pot. as it goes i was thinking of the whole roofie in the ale sense my players tend to sit at the tavern and get hammered anyway. I also had the idea of the mine being a old dwarvin mine system and if they fail the explosion will seal them in and possiblely open up another path that goes deeper in the mine network then it becomes a fight to find a way out. one of the party is a dwarf so i figure mabey he would know how the mine was made and be able to find alternet route to toss some rp in it really. deep down i feel the players would be ok with the captuering they are use to me throwing messed up situations at them, but i do see were you are coming from with them not liking it.



You have nothing to lose by asking them beforehand. You have a lot to lose if you don't and it goes awry.

         i did not think to leave it to a cliff hanger tho an that is a great idea thank you for it. i will definitly do it like that but the big desicion i struggle with is do i make a time limit for the fuse or go with the skill challenge road and if they fail a set of them then they are trapped. if i was doing timed i was literally going to set a timer for whatever amount of time and make them play under alot of pressure as the clock is ticking down. on the other hand having it set as a skill challenge with them not really knowing that it will effect them getting out or not is also a cool idea but not sure how to do it as i am not the best skill challenge maker. anyway thanks again guys and please forgive spelling just got home from work very tired so i have a case of the dumb ass lol.



I've been experimenting with real time timed scenarios. What I've found is that a scenario that has an overall time ("you have 3 real-time hours to get out of the mine or..."), the players slack in the beginning and when we get down to the half-hour mark, they're suddenly pushing each other around to get their turns done. I don't care for this because it creates a bad kind of stress and interaction and a lot of times that's right during a climactic scene that suddenly everyone is rushing to get through. A better option I've found is to set the time by encounter instead. This doesn't seem to have the same effect as timing the whole session. In your case, if you've set up three encounter areas in the mine (for example), perhaps that particular cavern collapses at the 1 hour mark. If the PCs have accomplished their objective in that scene, no big deal. If they haven't, they fail in some way but don't die and the next scene is more challenging.

As for the skill challenge, I'd set up 20 or so complications on a chart, then roll randomly and throw them at the PCs and ask what they do. Complexity 5, so 12 successes before 3 failures. But be sure that failure is interesting. I like merb101's suggestion: You're not going to the surface anymore. But there is a tunnel to the Underdark...

Example complications:

1. Falling Rocks
2. Bad Air
3. Panicked Slaves
4. Mazelike Tunnels
5. Underdark Beast
etc.

Say during the adventure you're ready to introduce a complication. Roll it up (say I got a 2) then present it to the PCs: "You're racing through the tunnels as you said. As your lungs and muscles burn from the exertion, you feel a bit light-headed. Dead, blue-lipped slaves sprawled on the ground and your labored gasps indicate you're in a section of the mine that has Bad Air. If you don't overcome it somehow, you could lose consciousness and die like these poor saps. What do you do?"

Then let them suggest how to deal with it, including the skill they want to use. Say "Yes, and..." as long as the player(s) is not contradicting existing fiction. Make it a group check or perhaps just one person takes the spotlight and makes a check for everyone with Aid Another from one or two other PCs as appropriate. Stick to the DCs by level to determine the results.

Some of the complications should suggest a possible fight (like Underdark Beast). If the PCs choose to solve the presented problem by smashing it to death with sticks, drop into tactical combat and have at it. Success in that combat equals a success in the skill challenge.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

The best advice you can get on this is: do not capture the characters. Players hate that.

If you don't see any other way to do what you want, talk to the players. Get their buy-in to the idea of having their characters captured. If they are into the idea, they'll help make it work. If they're not, which most players won't be if it's just sprung on them, they'll probably try to get out of it and you'll have to block their creativity.



+1.

I did this because I TPK'd the party because I blocked them up pretty bad, and sort of lamely defaulted to the "you wake up in cells" route. Not only did it feel forced, and awful, but it KILLED the momentum of the game. This happened in the next to last adventure of the whole campaign, and we sort of limped to the finish in a very lackluster fashion. 

And it was all my fault. Capturing the heroes without them being down for that kind of thing feels very un-heroic, and it can derail what is otherwise a very fun campaign or adventure.
 
So many PCs, so little time...
When I ran a game where a character was captured and jailed (with the player's permission), I made sure to give the PC plenty of opportunities to do things while jailed. We had a scene where his captors interrogated him, and the PC managed to gain as much information in return, maybe even more, than the ones interrogating him.

As soon as his teamates started attacking the cave where he was held, I gave him the chance to overcome his captor and escape, joining the fight. It wasn't particularly "realistic," but it was fun and dramatic, which I will take over realism any day.

So I think you can run a jail scene, but it needs to be fast and give the PCs plenty of chances to do things. Getting player buy-in up front helps because you can avoid all of the frustration that comes with having stuff taken away and having your character's options severely limited.
When I ran a game where a character was captured and jailed (with the player's permission), I made sure to give the PC plenty of opportunities to do things while jailed. We had a scene where his captors interrogated him, and the PC managed to gain as much information in return, maybe even more, than the ones interrogating him.

As soon as his teamates started attacking the cave where he was held, I gave him the chance to overcome his captor and escape, joining the fight. It wasn't particularly "realistic," but it was fun and dramatic, which I will take over realism any day.

So I think you can run a jail scene, but it needs to be fast and give the PCs plenty of chances to do things. Getting player buy-in up front helps because you can avoid all of the frustration that comes with having stuff taken away and having your character's options severely limited.



Jail scenes can be great, I like using them once in a while. Sometimes, players have to infiltrate a prison and other times there are different reasons why they are there. I like using Prisons that allow the players to get into the general population and work together against the odds, making both allies and enemies while planning their escape.

I would advise that players aren't the prisoner that "Bubba" takes a liking to, they are like the "Ice Man" being walked down the row. The other prisoners abide by "Commoner" NPC rules, that they are helpful, might know the PC's reputations, might have benefited or been harmed by PC's prior actions, and among the ranks of authority, there are corrupt guards who give the players a break and nice guards who just "feel" that the player isn't like the "convicts" they walk among.

Players can enjoy the scene just like any other "dungeon city". There might be a valid reason why they want to be imprisoned (to release a specific prisoner, for instance) or they might be hired by the constable to be "arrested" as a paid job to break up a prison gang. Or there might be a riot and the players are hired to help solve it, and while there, they are mistaken for prisoners and escape.

Just remember that even in prison, PC's are Heroes.

Within; Without.


hmmm it is intresting to see the different takes on this topic and mabey i can come at this a different way. perhaps i can have a bogas quest given to them by a npc who is working with the one that they are looking for. oh yea my brother went missing he was exploring this old mine system and has not come back in days. then have it all be a set up they fall into the npc's trap then when the players are deep in the mine he lights the fuse and the challenges begin or w/e something along those lines.