Monday, July 18, 2016

Reference: Scouting/Reconnaissance

Oi, Guvnah, wut's all this then?
I think, in one of those "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" moments I missed an important element by overstepping one piece of advice to the exclusion of an entire element of gameplay. That advice, "don't let the party get separated," has made it difficult for me to implement opportunities for the sneaky beaky types in my parties. So today, I'm doing a refresher for myself on ways that I can implement information gathering and explore how I might do that without breaking the flow as the "don't let the party get separated" advice is meant to help with. Let's take a look.

Basic Set

Looking closely, the Basic Set actually doesn't have much in the way of advice in terms of handling clandestine operations. The tools we are given are mostly the main skills needed to perform the duties and handfuls of advantages and talents to enhance them. Likewise, we have skills, advantages, and talents to counter such attempts.

Dungeon Fantasy

The first place to look for advice on running a Dungeon Fantasy game is always the second book, a pattern that repeats for several franchises, the types of stuff we can learn in Dungeon Fantasy 2 through information gathering are:
  • Rumors for new adventures (Finding a Quest, p.4)
  • Loans (Finding a Sponsor, p.4)
  • Sneaking Past enemies, figuring out information about traps, reading lips, and dogging (Scouting Ahead, p.7)
  • Inobvious long distance communication (Signaling, p.7)
  • Discovering weaknesses during a fight (Exploiting Weaknesses, p.10)
  • Discovering the purpose of a battle ("Onward to Victory!", p.10)
  • Interrogations (Prisoners, p.12)
  • Determining value of loot (Identifying the Good Stuff, p.14)
Beyond that, the next good place in Dungeon Fantasy for advice is volume 16, which has the following:
  • Finding good places to camp (Sites, p.24)
  • Exploration has a whole section starting on p.25 This includes
    • Sneaking, p.25
    • Information Gathering, p.26,
    • Getting Separated, p.26
    • Mapping, p.27
    • Tracking, p.27
    • Signaling, p.28
  • Detecting threats and traps (Nasty Tricks, p.35)
  • Knowing poisons and their antidotes (Healing Herbs, p.44)
So that's all the interesting knowledge gathering sections that jump out at me.

Reasons to Scout Ahead and Reasons to Not Scout Ahead

So, now that I have this laundry list of places to look for details on acquiring information, let's see what we can get with that.
  • We can learn the following by looking ahead
    • Traps (Bonus to disarms)
    • Encounters (Bonus to sneaking around or sneak attacks)
    • Details about encounters (Bonuses to hidden lore, physiology, and likewise for uncovering weaknesses)
    • Shorter ways to travel (Shorter travel times)
    • Locations for traps (Bonuses for setting up traps)
  • The following hazards might be incurred:
    • The loan scout(s) might have to protect themselves in a stealth roll gone bad
    • A scout must be incredibly fast to not impede the traveling time of the rest of the group (at least twice as fast as the slowest member)
    • A scout traveling alone can get lost, which can exhaust valuable travelling time.
    • Miscommunication can occur between the scout and the group
    • Using long distance signalling makes the party and scout(s) more easily detected.


It seems like an important tool in the bag that I have been neglecting, and something that can add some unique challenges. I'm afraid of the situation of the scout being caught alone by himself though, especially because the one for my group is especially fragile, and being dissected with no backup seems like a rough way to go. On the other hand, it definitely gives another character a unique way to shine. The problem is that I tend to wing the happenings of my sessions, and so their is not a lot to reconnoiter until the thing has actually happened. Though, I have been getting into the habit of rolling the more tedious random tables before sessions, so maybe it's just the same, I choose what will happen before it happens (sometimes called "planning") and then there is a thing to actually see ahead of time?


  1. Split parties are hard as heck, and to me have always kinda hobbled the "sneaky rogue" archetype. The best way I've been able to manage it was by running the sneaky beaky type's recon misadventure as a separate session, but that isn't always an option.

    1. That sounds interesting but liable to very abrupt stops when the sneakster is in a situation where getting to the party for backup/support is vital to his continued vitality.

    2. Yeah, that's been my experience. Or, it'll turn into something involved and put them one over the rest of the party come the next gathering.


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