You can’t learn how to build adventures until you know what an adventure actually is. So sit down, Daniel-san, and listen to your Angry-senpai as I explain how encounter is like cracking an orc’s skull and watching it bleed. While holding the Triforce. I s$&% you not.
Structure is the glue that holds your adventure together and every adventure needs a good structure. Fortunately, it turns out there’s only ONE actual structure. I’ll prove it through the magic of Commodore 64 adventure games and tentacles!
If you want to be a Master Adventure Builder, you’ve got to know your way around your LEGO bricks. By which I mean scenes. That’s the gimmick of this article. I explain scenes as an adventure building concept and then use a bunch of references to LEGO sets and pieces using obtuse LEGO jargon to show off how I’m better than you at BOTH game mastering AND LEGO. I also talk about Not-Straulia and raptor-puppies. It’s weird being in my head.
The hills are alive with the sound of Anger! Angry advice about how to start building adventures by figuring out the ending that is!
Every hero needs a motivation. Though you wouldn’t know it by watching movies like Guardians of the Galaxy. Or listening to the lying liars who sit at your table pretending to be role-players. Doesn’t matter. When YOU write an adventure, you damned well better figure out how to motivate the characters. AND the players.
When you’re writing an adventure, you need interconnected scenes to get the heroes from the beginning to the end. Now, maybe you think you know what scenes are because you’ve already read previous articles in which a certain Angry genius explained them. But that doesn’t mean you know how to build them. So let’s talk about scene construction.
If you ask most GMs what the most important part of an adventure is, they’re going to tell you that it’s the backstory. And they’re wrong. Backstory is one of the least important parts of the adventure. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore it completely. It’s just a matter of doing it right.
Did you know adventures come in different shapes? It’s true! And, if you’re going to make your own adventures, you’ve got to get them in shape!
Linear adventures are woefully misunderstood. They seem simple to design, but they aren’t. And they seem like they should suck, but they don’t. Stop calling them simple. Stop calling them railroady. Maybe YOU’RE simple and railroady!
Open adventures are woefully misunderstood. Many GMs think they are a panacea for all of your gaming ills. But they aren’t a balm for everything, they require careful implementation, and they aren’t an excuse to skip having a structure.
Branching adventures are the most common types of adventures. And that’s good, because they are often the BEST adventures. Let me teach you how to do them right. As a bonus, I’ll empower you with bottlenecks and ballooning pyramids. Just don’t think about trees.
Every adventure needs a beginning. Yeah, I know, it’s exactly that kind of brilliant insight you can’t get anywhere else. So, let’s talk about opening scenes.
Let’s travel back to a bygone era when the modems were measured in bauds and the online role-playing games didn’t have any graphics and discover how old The Angry GM actually is and how much of a massive nerd he is. Oh, we’ll also learn the basics of designing RPG scenes.
Tabula rasa is the philosophical belief that every player enters your game stupid. And if you don’t want them to stay that way, you’d better learn how to use your scene-building knowledge to manage information.
Few Game Masters think to ask who is meant to drive the plot in the adventure they are writing. Which is a shame, because there are lots of ways an adventure can be driven. And by lots, I mean two. There are two ways. And understanding them can help make your adventure writing easier.
If you get over the bulls$&% notion that planning a plot is somehow railroading, you’ll discover just how powerful plot threads are as tools for designing adventures and campaigns. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of plot points and how to build simple and complex adventures around them.
One of my least favorite holiday traditions is the one wherein I get bombarded with requests to explain how to write a good a holiday adventure. Or at least outline one. And I can’t fight it anymore.