I always miss this. Ugh. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. On a completely unrelated note, I should be getting my car back from the shop tomorrow or Thursday.
Presented by Autocratik and Casting Shadows:
Sunday, August 1st marks the start of the 8th annual RPGaDay event which serves as an excuse to explore our gaming and share only the good things about it. The event is structured through a daily challenge where prompts are used to inspire some form of social media response that works for you, via whatever platform(s) suit your interests. Each response you make or share from someone else should be tagged with #RPGaDay2021 so that others can find it and appreciate it, too. For more details check out this year’s advance-preparation posts here and at Dave Chapman’s Autocratik blog.
This year’s RPG-a-Day calendar looks pretty cool, and it may turn out to be something that might lead to a product for a few people. The prompts are cohesive and highly relatable.
I’ve decided that my efforts this year are going to get tied to personal efforts at Discipline, Focus and Creativity. To that end, I’ll be keeping the notes and sketches, etc for this series of blargs in a dedicated notebook (gosh, I love notebooks!) and try to share the creative process with you as well.
At the end of the month, I’ll collate all of this material and make it available on my no-charge Substack (subscribe here – Memorium). Let’s get started, shall we?
Do you want an idea for a scenario? Or an actual scenario? Or a post on how I go about generating a scenario?
I suppose we can do all three at the same time…
It’s just like creating a blarg post!
I was actually thinking about this a little bit last night, and jotted down some ideas on a sticky note, which I stuck in the corner of the page here.
I was working on ideas for Factions in the Land of Terror campaign that I plan to start this fall. The original Isle of Dread module has a group of weird alien beings living in volcanic tubes in the center of the island, but I want something bigger. I’m going to steal the People of the Black Circle from REH for this. We’ll put one of their headquarters on the island. In the volcano!
Of course, a Scenario needs an Instigating Event, something to get the ball rolling. I don’t have to fully detail the PotBC before we get playing, just drop some hints and legends. Since all of the PCs for this campaign will be local to the Isle their knowledge of the greater campaign world will be extremely limited.
They will of course know a lot about the peninsula where they live and a little about the coastal waters. The rest of the Isle will only be known through stories and legends. And now this sailor has washed up on the shore…
There was a terrible storm, a ship has wrecked on the reef near the shore of the peninsula. One poor sailor washed ashore and has been brought to the main village. He makes an enigmatic statement before he expires, and the tribal chief sends the PCs on a mission to discover more information.
Seems simple enough?
When I design adventures for the World of Weirth setting, especially the introductory ones, I like to use them to introduce the setting to the players and set a tone. I made a list of the Goals for early adventures:
- Introduce players to the milieu
- Shake-down for the characters – their equipment, weapons and abilities
- Establish boundaries of knowledge
- Teach the players the specific mechanics of:
- Travel procedures
- Survival/Foraging/Local Flora and Fauna
- Medicine and Healing
- Spellcasting procedures
- Initiative and Combat rules
- Specific pieces of Lore –
- Adventure Hooks
I use scenario design as an extension of the world building process. Rather than just drop in an encounter, I work to make that encounter mean something. Using consistent encounter templates and repeating situations creates verisimilitude and allows the PCs to engage with the setting. It also gives me as DM the opportunity to give the PCs clues about what is happening, or going to happen, with simple descriptions of sights, sounds, smells, or other foreshadowing techniques.
For example, when PCs in the World of Weirth are in a dungeon/underground setting and they discover an area of loose rubble or fallen stone with an earthy, musky smell in the air, they (should, by now!) know to look for Grave Rats and be on their guard!
Likewise, if a room description includes “the odor of ammonia”, they know to look out for dangerous slimes or oozes.
With that in mind, the Land of Terror Campaign will begin like this:
The dying sailor grasps the Shaman’s hand as he struggles to rise, to speak, “My Master seeks the People of the Black Circle! Only they can heal the …ecch!”
The Shaman knows the People of the Black Circle are ancient sorcerers, with much lore passed down from olden times. He also knows there are untold dangers between their mountain fastness and this small village.
“Go”, he says, “Find this shipwreck and bring back whatever you can. We must learn more about this danger!”
The adventure begins!