Thursday, September 26, 2013

How to write adventures - stringing scenes together

I've posted before on my thoughts about scenes as the currency of gaming. This post is about how to use them to best effect. I'm not claiming to tell how it is, this are my thought right now, and will probably change.

Having scenes thought out, I think it's quite tempting to decide from the start which of your darlings you want to use, and what's going to happen. Especially the latter is tempting. If you "figure out" that they players will do B after doing A, you can be pretty sure that they will want to do C instead and will violently protest about that B you dangle in front of them. Don't do that. I at way to got at doing just that. So, how do you do?

I've tested out a few ways myself, and read about what others have done. I think that there are a few way to do scene based design without laying down the tracks. I think the best way is to have one opening scene, one scene with some kind of conclusion to the main conflict and in between you have the other scenes. If you introduce a threat in scene one, and put in some things that leads up to the conclusion or what brings the conflict to a head you can kind of have your cake, and eat it too. Say you have a bad guy planning to do a bad thing at a specific place at a specific time. Then it's fairly obvious which the concluding scene will be, and if the first scene is designed to involve the players you probably have your adventure right there. You could probably run that after just thinking about the supporting cast and some key locations, and after putting some stats to that you could improvise the rest.

My latest game, which we cancelled due to scheduling problems, was supposed to be some attempt in this vein. I had a starting scene introducing the action, and when a key event happened a NPC would show up, kill another NPC and then I'd let the law descend and see which way the player character jumped based on whom they had befriended before the murder. That way I hoped to tell a story, while giving the players the ability to steer most of the action. Key for me here would be that even if the players did nothing, I could make sure something happened, and if they did take the plot and run with it, I could just throw in that smoking gun and go along with the ride.

Wish me luck herding the cats back together and we might see if it worked!




2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tips. I'm still in the process of writing my first short solo.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, great to hear my ideas have some merit and use!

    ReplyDelete

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