Friday, July 25, 2014

Comment - Searching a Room

If you ever read Knights of the Dinner Table you can find examples of play exactly like that, where the DM just hands them a list of what was in the room and the players transfer it to their character sheets.

I like the right kind of detail in my game and try to tailor such searches to my players' temperament for detail. If a character makes such a blanket statement I usually slow things down ask for details. How much time are they going to take searching, do they trust the the other players not to pocket a few shiny bits of treasure, are there traps, etc...

DM: "The wizard's apprentice inhabiting this room is dead and his homunculous familiar as well. What a mess."

Thief 1 (Ted): "I thoroughly search the room!"

DM: "Okay, it is a long room running south; about forty feet and twenty feet wide, but it looks like it might turn east at the end. Where do you start searching?"

Fighter 1 (Frank): "Not so fast thief-boy! I'm going with you. Last time you searched you palmed that ring of spices."

Cleric 1 (Clarence): "That's right! Keep an eye him Frank. I'm going to shut the door. Who needs healing?"

Mage 1 (Mike): "I do. That bastard used a Magic Missile on me!"

DM: "Just as a point of interest the bookcase against the wall is still smoldering from Mike's Burning Hands, but most of the flames were put out by all the blood after Frank chopped the wizard's head off. (Nice called shot there).

Mike: "The Bookcase! Healing can wait. I put out the burning books and search it!"

Ted: "Hey, I'm searching the room!"

Mike: "Not this bookcase you aren't!"

DM: "How are you putting the flames out. And where exactly are you guys searching?"

Ted: "Okay he can have the charred books. What does this place look like?"

DM: (Finally!) As I said when you opened the door, the wizard was sitting at a table, now knocked over with two of the legs broken. There were 3 chairs around it, now knocked over as well. A long bookcase is against the west wall behind him running about 15 feet. There is a sideboard against the north wall, with a strange picture above it and the door opened in the east wall. The room runs south another twenty or thirty feet with another bookcase at its end and three pieces of furniture and a desk on the east and west walls. There appears to be a gap at the end of the east wall where the room seems to run east. A cloak rack is near the door.

Ted: "Sheesh! What are you doin'; writing a novel?"

DM: "Hey, you want to thoroughly search the place. This is what you have to search."

Frank: "What's that picture look like?"


  1. Yeah, searching a room can be tricky. Especially when you have folks trying to sneak things. I know it our own game the thieves in the group 'whisper' on the IM to say what they are secretly searching for. Even though we are standing there. Guess that's apart of it.

  2. If the thieves didn't steal things then they wouldn't be proper thieves.