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Author Topic: Writing Adventures  (Read 15629 times)

Offline Mercuri

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Re: Writing Adventures
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2019, 08:00:41 AM »
I guess all of us aren't meant to be DM's. I couldn't cope well with players doing unexpected stuff all the time. haha

Offline teaman

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Re: Writing Adventures
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2019, 10:09:55 AM »
One thing I have found is that players enjoy whenever you can link an adventure to their character's backstory.  Finding a lost relative, finding the sword lost from their village, etc... All of these really help.

Now, some folks don't give me much, so in that case I try to sprinkle something (if possible) into the adventure design that might hook them.  Promise of treasure for the thief, magic books for the wizards. 

In terms of the back story I write, well, it's rarely more than a paragraph.  And sometimes you can get some mileage out of what the PC's latch onto.  In my current game, I think they are very concerned that the dragon cultists are more than a local organization (though that's what I figured.)  So I might be doing more with that dragon cult in the near future.

Whenever you can let the players do the heavy creative lifting, that's a good day in my book.
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Offline sgtslag

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Re: Writing Adventures
« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2019, 08:18:48 AM »
One of the very best resources for ad-lib DM'ing, I've come across, thus far, is the book, XDM:  X-treme Dungeon Mastery, by Tracy & Curtis Hickman.  It confirmed most of what I learned the hard way, over 30+ years of DM'ing.

Ad-lib DM'ing is a skill learned by doing.  It takes time, work, and a lot of effort.  It is worth it, though.  A couple of my players have told me that I have ruined them for other DM's:  they enjoy my style so much, that other DM's are just disappointing.  I am heavy into role playing, however, so that is a huge portion of why they enjoy my games so much.  I also make sure that their PC's actions are impacting their world, in small ways, at lower levels, but their actions have much more impact as their levels go up.  It is a blast for all of us:  I feed off of their table talk ideas, and some of them are good enough to use -- after I tweak them a bit.  To do this, I have to have cultures, rituals, and customs, as well as other society factors which the players must learn, and abide by.  It all works to enmesh them deeper into my imaginary world.  They become a part of it, helping to shape it.

Like I said earlier in this thread, it is a delicate balance.  When done properly, though, it will suck your players into your fantasy world, deep into the realm of what goes on; they will care about NPC's, what happens to them, they will seek rewards beyond mere magic items, large and small.  They will want to shape the 'world' merely for the sake, and reward, of making it a better place for all NPC's, and themselves.  When your players are more interested in righting a wrong, than they are in acquiring a particular magic item, or more gold, then you know you have achieved something really fun and exciting.  Cheers!
Gaming:  one of life's many pleasures!

Offline Malrex

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Re: Writing Adventures
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2020, 02:01:54 PM »
I like a little backstory...I call it 'fluff'. But 1-2 paragraphs is perfect. It's enough for me to work with to get the overall vibe of the place. If it's longer than 1-2 paragraphs--then put it in an Appendix or something for optional reading so that its out of my way while running an adventure as I'll probably not use it. Same for past history of a room--I don't need it. I don't need to know that this room was used 100 years ago as a torture chamber--unless it's relevant to the current adventure or an important clue that PC's might/need to discover.

Magic items? This is where I like a little fluff or backstory. The reason is that this info might actually be determined by a sage, mage, or bard while trying to identify it. A longsword +1 is boring to me. Throw on a griffon claw pommel or engravings or a sentence of past history about the past wielder and it becomes a lot more interesting to me. But this only needs to be 1-2 sentences. In general, book magic items are kinda boring. Players probably have read them all anyways which takes away their awe and mystery. Create new magic items and it bring that sense of wonder back.

NPC's? Give me 3-4 descriptive words on their looks/mannerisms and maybe a few bullet points of what they know, what they are trying to do, or anything else that's relevant or something that has a chance the PC's will find out DURING the game.

Pre-determined outcomes are no fun for anyone. PC's will stray and be frustrated that they are brought back on the railroad/their actions/decisions don't matter...and DM's will get frustrated that the PC's aren't "doing what they are supposed too". Sometimes an action/encounter needs to be forced...for example, the main premise or in order for the adventure to be run, the party needs to be shrunk....This can be really tricky and a designer should give some hints/tools for a DM if a player avoids it somehow, but I think a little force is ok to present the situation if absolutely needed--but then open up the sandbox immediately once more so the players can deal with the situation and their actions actually do/mean something.


Offline Loma

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Re: Writing Adventures
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2020, 08:09:47 AM »
As a player, I don't actually mind being railroaded, Malrex. As long as the story is good, I want to play it out. I sort of agree with the rest of what you said, though.
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