Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How to write adventures - some attempts at consolidating ideas

I've listened to quite a few podcasts  where the topic have been how to write convention scenarios. That combined with my experiences running Savage Worlds and my post apocalyptic game have resulted in some conclusions. At least I think it's conclusions. But, naturally, I will probably keep thinking on the topic, and probably keep posting new ideas. Now I felt like summarizing somewhat.

I think I've found two ways to write adventures. There might be more ways, but these two have worked for me, and I felt like taking some note of what parts were needed for the machine to work.

First off, Location Based Design.

For this to work, you need two things.
  1. A map
  2. Threats
The first thing can be a dungeon map, or a map of a city, spaceport or whatnot. It should provide things to investigate, and things to uncover. The second thing can be monsters, traps and NPCs with nefarious plans.

The Location Based Design I think work best when the reason for being there is not based on the location. It should be something that the PCs take with them, a mission or a rumour. For the longevity of this type of design I think that is a key thing.

Secondly, Scene Based Design.

For this design to work, you need three things.
  1. Where the scene is set.
  2. Those who are present stated up, with intentions and motivations.
  3. What just happened, the "bang".
In this case I think the reason for being there is different. Now it should be part of the location. Either it is the place, or the people there, that compels one or more characters to be there.

Naturally, to have more than a very short scenario you will need multiple scenes. The way you string them together can probably be a topic in of itself. I'll get back to it.

I will try to dive a bit deeper into how these two crystallized in my next post, and bring some examples. Anyone having experiences with those two sets of design frames are welcome to chime in. I hope I will better understand my own thinking, and know I have more to learn on the topic.

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