Crush Fiesta Vol. 1 - The challenged DM


Should be playing D&D instead
I just finished the first part of a little pet project of mine and as Bryce generously gave us a little space in his garden to talk projects and stuff, I tought why not post it here.
It's not exactly an adventure in the strictest sense ... rather an idea that leads to a different kind of play.

But before I write all the details down again I'll just post links to my blog :p

Crush Fiesta - An introduction
Here I explain what a Crush Fiesta is.

Crush Fiesta Vol. 1 - The challenged DM
And here i introduce the first Crush Fiesta.

Google Drive link to the pdf
And here you can get the pdf directly.

So check it out and tell me what you think about it.

If this isn't what you had in mind for this subforum, just move the thread around or kill it ;)


i fucking hate writing ...
Staff member
I shall now pull aside the Bryce curtain: I'm only good at three things: focus, making connections between things, and being an index ...

And, following my new forum rule ...


#1 reminds me of some indie fantasy RPG I looked at one. It was in the Torchbearer/etc vein. Basically, if the player succeeded on heir roll then the DM had to do/insert the thing. So if I search for secret doors and I find one, then the DM needs to put one in, right there. I wish I could remember more/the name. Ah! Donjon! From 2003?!

Hmmm, there's also those convention events where the DM is given three words to build a dungeon from, or something like that? Maybe it's called Iron DM?

More generally, I find the thought exercise portion interesting. Objectives are tricky. As I look at them they seem ... prescriptive (Duh! They are!) Cleric must die and elf must appear 5 minutes later seems obvious, as does poison/vomit/healing potions.

Is that because I'm "playing the game"/making connections, or because they are TOO obviously linked? Ir is that the intent?


Should be playing D&D instead
Never read or played Donjon, but a friend told me of it long ago.
Reminds me of Ten Candles ... If a player succeeds on their roll there he/she gets "narrative control" for the scene (or until another roll is made by another player) ... the DM is still the arbiter of what is and isn't allowed tough. I think John Wicks "Houses of the Blooded" had some stuff in there too that shuffled the narrative control between players and DM.

Never heard of IronGM, but I know exercises like that. 24 hour adventure contest, 200 word adventure contests, stuff like that.
The first ideas for the Crush Fiesta were indeed for convention play. Little, self contained packages that you could play nearly instantly. Rules, setting, characters, adventure ... 15 to 20 minutes prep time for the DM ... and you are good to go. That was the core idea at that time ... much shifted and changed since then, but even the very first ideas had a strong "thought exercise/experiment"-vibe to it.

All of that probably had some influence on how I wrote the Crush Fiesta, but you could hardly call it a conscious choice ... more like i subconsciously used the stuff I remembered from somewhere else.

Yeah, the objectives can get tricky at times.
To be totally honest, some of my own examples probably aren't that good either or rather , they don't follow my own advice which I put in the thing (oh the hypocrisy :/ )
But I wanted to get this thing done quickly and rushed it a bit at the end.

The cleric elf connection is intended. A little twist to shake things up for players and DM alike.
The poison/vomit/healing potion thing is totally unintended ... I honestly realized that only when I read your post.
The healing potion objective is linked to the characters ... Each of the four starting characters carries a potion, so the DM has the get lost of one to accomplish his goal here.

The vomit and poison objectives are there to either geht the DM to fudge a roll to make it happen or railroad the players into situations where they have to make saves until they fail ... If the DM cant think of a more creative approach of course.

Ifyou are interested I could post notes to my objectives: How I think they could be solved or rather why I tought they'd makegood objectives.

One of the core concepts of this Crush Fiesta is to see how well/worse the DM does under pressure. Thats the main reason for the 90 minute objective.

One thing that may not be entirely clear is that the played adventure should feel as much as a real adventure as possible.
So the rules of the base system should be followed, the world should make sense, the plot should be fun.
So the DM has to achieve the objectives while being constrained by the standards of a "good" adventure.


i fucking hate writing ...
Staff member
Post them notes! I just started a new job yesterday and I need new ways to procrastinate and not work on dungeons/books!


Should be playing D&D instead
Here you go then.
I'll post every objective followed by a few comments or notes.

The general objectives are mainly used to regulate the "feel" of that session or to impose "big" challenges.

The game has to be over after 90 minutes realtime.
Sets a limit for the DM. Puts pressure on the DM. Limiting the game to 90 minutes or so makes it more into a party game, or rather allowas players to commit to it for quick fun. Keeps it short and fresh.

If the party leaves a room in the dungeon, they may never enter it again.
Some groupd do this on their own, so I#m not sure how good that objective is. It's mainly there for the DM to invent a fancy reason for the party to never turn back (One playtest had the partyfleeing a volcanic eruption into a dungeon ... he lava followed them inside. Whenever they would linger to long or wanted to turn back, the DM would let lavaflowinto the room behind them.)
Can get railroady.

The party must use exactly three potions of healing.
That one I explain in the pdf. Chars got 4 potions, may only use 3 ... DM has to think of something.
Potion stolen, lost, bad potion .... whatever.

The party has to camp inside the dungeon for at least 2 hours.
Time may be changed here, but shouldn't be too short or too long. I wanted a "complicated" time ... too long for a breather, too short for a full rest. So the DM has to give the party apretty good reason for staying that time.
The "at least" made it in at last minute ... because I'm a nice guy.

Two different PCs have to vomit at least once.
First vomitting PCs are fun. Second, I wanted the DM to either get the party to eat, drink, taste something or introduce a enviromental effect. Poison wil do too. Getting the party to ingest something could be hard. Most will probalby go with some gas or poison in a fight. MAgic is alwaysan option ... but seems to me like the cheap way out.


The party has to kill exactly 4 intelligent beings in the dungeon.

Gives the DM much leeway. Swarm the dungeon with dumb stuff to kill the party. Makes thereal enemies stand out. Intelligent beings are harder to kill. If morale is considered, they might flee.
One of the poorerobjectives in hindsight. Should be more specific.
The party has to encounter 7 intelligent enemies in combat and kill only 4 of them ... or similar.

While fighting, one PC has to receive 2 points of ability damage on an ability of your

Because ability damage is soo much fun ;)
Spices up combat ... nmot just hack,slash,dodge, repeat ... intersting effects and such make combat worthwhile (from an out of game perspective)

One enemy has to successfully flee a fight with the party, but must still be killed before the
adventure is over.

DM has top introduce the poor guy, get him to fight, to flee and to be killed later. Spices things up further. Maybe my subconciousness trying to introduce some kind of plot to that whole thing. Recurring villain?

One PC has to be brought down to exactly 0 HP in a fight.
The "exacty" makes it interesting. MAinly there for the DM; to fudge a roll or to lie into the groups face.

The party must kill one enemy with something other than their weapons or magic.
Allows the DM to introduce fun stuff like collapsing roofs, pits, acid pools,...
DM can introduce an enemy that invincible to most normal damage and magic but can be killed by chocking... stuff like that.

Character specific objectives
The fighter must have full HP at the end of the adventure

Fighters take most damage in combat (if they protect their group). Could be interesting ... forced healing?
Group will probalby see to it themselves ... not one of the better objectives.
The fighter must be poisoned.
Poisoning is fun. Easily done in retrospect. not one of the better ones.

The cleric has to loose his/her holy symbol.

Could be tricky if the player is clever. Stealing monsters? Allows DM to add a chase, maybe contgrol the way the party is going.

The cleric must die in the dungeon.
Twist to introduce the elf, shake things up after a while.
Easily done (especially with hiddenrolls and fudging or by just being an ass)

The magic-user must fail a magical device saving throw.

DM has to introduce something for the MU to fiddle with. Mustn't kill him.

The magic-user must deal at least 1 point of damage to another member of the party.
Because everyone loves it when magic goes wrong. Depends on the system used and how magic and magic failure is handeld there. Fudging a roll or taking control of the character are options.

The specialist must end the adventure at exactly half his/her HP.

Could be tricky. "Exactly half" could be reached by fudging. Potions re rollesby the players most of the time (and they arelinited here, see above). so a random healing effect. Other way ... specialist takes damage only once, never again ... many ways for a clever DM to force it here.

The specialist has to be stabbed in the back somewhere in the dungeon.
Because I think it's hilarious if the sepcialist/thief/ rogue gets backstabbed :p
Forces the DM to ambush the party or have intelligent enemies that hide and flank.
Surprise mosnter from the ceiling would work .

The elf must be introduced in the five minutes following the clerics death. The player of the
cleric takes control of the elf.

Secondpart of the Cleric-elf twist. Time limit forces DMs hand so he has to explain where the fuck the elf came from.

The elf must have the least amount of silver pieces at the end of the adventure.
He has the most on his sheet ... so either he loses some or the other members of the party find more (and then they have to share it ingame for this objective to count)

All in all I'm rather pleased how the objectives turned out. While many are obvious or easy they are all good fun (in my opinion).
Another thing one shouldn't forget is the pressure or rush these objectives put on the DM collectively. While single objectives may be easy, there are twenty of them to keep track of. So some things might be forgotten.
That was intended ;) (Bury the DM in little tasks and see which of them get lost)
The money objective of the elf coms to mind here. While it could be easy to solve alone, there are 19 other goals to reach for. So maybe the DM forgets to one characters silver pieces.