The Alphastream Game Design Blog

How to Run D&D’s Exploration Pillar: A Mastering Dungeons Index

Indigenous explorers arrive at a flowing pool decorated by large rocks carved into the shapes of giant frogs.
Chaos in the Old World, by Marco Gorlei

Of the three pillars in D&D, Exploration is the least comfortable for DMs, players, and designers. On the Mastering Dungeons podcast, Shawn Merwin and I looked at how to overcome the challenges of Exploration to create great experiences in your games.

We covered the topic across these three episodes:

Exploring Exploration, Part 1

  • Why do we use the three pillars of Combat, Roleplaying, and Exploration?
  • Why do DMs consider exploration the hardest pillar to do well?
  • Exploration rules are spread across chapters in the DMG and PHB  – where to find them!
  • We redefine exploration and the keys to good exploration in D&D.

Exploring Exploration, Part 2

  • Most think of exploration primarily as overland travel.
  • We provide examples of the breadth of exploration as a pillar.
  • We identify the areas where DMs have trouble creating a fun exploration experience.
  • How to combine exploration with other types of encounters.

Exploring Exploration, Part 3

  • How to give players choices and consequences in exploration.
  • How to tell a fun story with exploration.
  • A detailed review of the overland travel rules and how to make them fun.
  • Examples of great scenes.
  • Making the most of adventures.
  • Helpful links.

We hope you find these indices helpful. Feedback has been great so far. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This entry was posted on March 17, 2021 by and tagged , , , .


Follow me on

Mastodon logo Mastodon


Follow me on

BlueSky logo BlueSky

Privacy Policy