I meant to write something more about adventure design when I mentioned it in my discussion of Persona 4, but since I’m thinking about it now, I’ll write about it now. When you’re writing an adventure as a series of encounters, one great approach is to use recurring themes to help lend a consistency and a helpful little predictability to your encounters. One of the goals of a Dungeon Master should be to challenge the players, not take them to the curb.

So, one of the recurring encounter elements/obstacles in the first part of Escape from White Cliff (I’ve outlined it as consisting of four parts, or acts) is an elite “spatial distortion” trap, which causes characters who begin their turns within its area to be slowed, and it makes attacks against each creature in its area (targeting their weakest save) to teleport them several squares in a “random” direction and daze them.

The trap is intended mostly to add an extra layer of difficulty to encounters that would normally be pretty straightforward — crossing a bridge or traversing a room in flames suddenly becomes more difficult when you’ve got to factor in how much longer it will take. The distortion, like any other trap, can be disarmed by clever characters, though I’m planning to come up with some variations on the types of distortions and methods of “disarming” them, in order to keep things interesting.