Writing an advanture
Posted 02 November 2008 - 12:42 PM
I've set to write my first proper adventure and then I thought "who've said that this where the characters will go? Maybe they'll go to there and avoided this wonderfully written bit?" My greatest fear is Railroading the players to death (sometimes literally), but I don't want to write a dungeon stile adventure (every option is planed and mostly unrelated to the other scenes). Is there a guide to how to write a proper adventure and run it properly or it's just an acquired skill?
I wrote two adventures in English (the rest are in Hebrew) and I would like to know what you think of them.
Posted 02 November 2008 - 04:09 PM
What I generally do, is write a timeline of what would happen if the characters did absolutely nothing. Then try and identify what they can change. Most adventures, from high fantasy to sci-fi etc. all have a series of events that you can map out. It also means that you know if the characters ignore the plot and wonder off (very likely to happen unless you can "attach" the plot to at least 1 or 2 of them (e.g. it's their job, avenging a loved one etc.), you can describe what's happening in the world around them.
From a description POV, I think it was something like GURPS Trinadad or something (brain is hazy and the book is upstairs) that introduced something like the senses descriptor, where you describe what you can see, hear, smell, touch or taste at a location, including if people make things like spot hidden checks etc. (in GURPS you got a sliding scale as to how well you rolled, so some things may have been revealed but everything). I've used that when I've written stuff for other people to run, but generally if I'm running it myself I wing it for that sort of thing.
Finally (!), looking at what you've written in the 2 links.
The 1st reads like you've written it for yourself, with 1 liners to remind you of what you'd imagined. That's fine though there are a few places where you are slightly railroading the players (e.g. character x dies no matter what they do). You're better off doing an either/or such as he lives so he'll do y, he'll die so that doesn't happen or has to be done by the characters (if they think of it!), generally so their lives are easier if allies don't get killed...
The 2nd reads like you were drunk typing it! Generally, don't bother to put expletives in, as you're just wasting keyboard clicks to write the same info. Again, it looks like it's notes for you to run; again without the players being able to really think outside the box (what happens if the police can be stopped from being called/are delayed by other things happening etc?)
To be honest though, so long as you know enough about the worlds you've created, both would be fine. Just don't expect the players to think logically or rationally!
Posted 02 November 2008 - 05:05 PM
The second one is me trying to write a "Kill Puppies for Satan" adventure exactly like in the book. It's really short (one page) and I agree it's really railroaded.
When I ran the first one, "The legend of the secret seven", I ran it on the last day of a convention. I gave a guy the character of a really bitchy Swedish priestess and he done striates in front of the catholic soldiers. It was funny at the firs couple of times but it got really old really fast. The character (is written in Hebrew) was a really selfish pain in the ass when I wrote her.
Those instances I'm trying to avoid by writing properly, even to myself.
Posted 03 November 2008 - 09:06 AM
The idea is not to lead them by the nose but to gently guide them to where you want them to be. I always view any published adventure as a guide rather than set in stone. It is an ideal course of action and some pieces are essential to the plot but others I can let slide. The idea when writing something is to provide the most likely course of action and if the players choose to wander off course then provide some helpful advice for the GM to get them back there.
When i wrote the Labour of Love game I was not sure the players would go the way I wanted them too but DnD is pretty easy to control from the DM perspective. Other games (especially more contemporary games) are much harder to control. Players tend to want to do cool things which are often very dangerous or very illegal or both and then you have the issue of either dealing with them in an appropriate and realistic fashion (ie. hunting them down and slamming them in jail) or you let them get away with it and the suspension of disbelief is damaged.
If you have any questions about writing games or anything you want to bounce off folks just drop it up here and we will take a crack at it
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