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Adventure Writing Contest: Need Examples

 
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BluSponge
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Joined: 13 May 2003
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Location: Lewisville, TX

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:49 pm    Post subject: Adventure Writing Contest: Need Examples Reply with quote

Ok Savages! This year, we have decided to host an adventure writing contest for the Lewisville Public Library game, and I need your help to pull it off. I'm in the process of working up the rules, but essentially each participant will submit a single scenario that can be played through in about a single evening (or two library sessions). In addition to other prizes, the winner will get to run his or her adventure for the group (with the assistance of the GM team).

One of the things I need to do is offer a set of good examples for them to look at. Most of these kids have never written an adventure before, and will no doubt need examples on top of the info in the Savage Worlds explorers edition. Given the sheer number of One-Sheets out there, I was hoping for some help in this regard. So if you'd care too, please name three one sheets you think do the best job of offering a well-rounded single evening of play.

In addition, if you know of any websites that offer good instruction on crafting scenarios (regardless of game system), I'd love to include them in the resources list.

Thanks all,
Tom
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Adam Baulderstone
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like that you are not just encouraging people to play RPG's, but to create material and run games, too. I do see one particular difficulty, which is GMing is really an activity it is hard to learn by any other method than doing it.

You might want to encourage the entrants to have a kind of workshop where they can run their ideas for each other as they develop their one sheets. Not only will it improve the quality of the entries, it will give everyone in the contest a chance to get their feet wet as GM's whether they win or not.

Maybe they could each run a one sheet from this site before starting their own. It will give them a much better idea of what a one sheet needs than just reading one.

Of course this might not be logistically possible, but I thought I'd at least suggest it.

As to recommending a one sheet, I like Double Crossbones. It has some variety and a nice chance for a final battle against a villain that has crossed them.

Greg Stolze has an excellent essay on GMing on his website. It isn't specific to adventure design but does cover it. Robin's Laws of Good Gamemastering is fantastic, but of course that costs money.
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SlasherEpoch
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any book on short story writing should pretty easily translate to roleplaying writing. You'll have the same things, in general, with a well written short story:

Concise, evocative writing: Say the most things with the fewest words.
Three act structure: Setup, rising action, climax
Singularity of focus: Most short stories don't diverge too much from their one plot

Other general things I find helpful:
The PCs should always be the focus of the adventure. If the story is heavy on dialogue of "cutscenes," the players will get bored. Something to keep in mind is without the intervention of the PCs, the villain's plan would succeed; this usually helps me focus on where the adventure needs to go.

With a short adventure, there is no such thing as a random encounter. Encounters should all drive the story or otherwise make up a logical part of it.

Have a fight! SW is built around combat and an interesting fight against varied opponents in an interesting environment is the entire basis of RPGs, in my opinion.

Action, action, action! The players should always be doing something. Be relentless with the challenges, whether it's combat, a riddle, or hunting clues. Downtime can and will make a session stretch on for hours.


Anyway, those are my rules for when I write my own stuff. You can pretty easily form your own guide by thinking of things you like/don't like about various adventures. And like I said, books on short story writing should provide you with all the information on structure and form you need.
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BluSponge
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Joined: 13 May 2003
Posts: 1891
Location: Lewisville, TX

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tips, Slash. I don't intend to just let them fend for themselves. In addition to the suggestions in SWEX, I'm encouraging them to look into outside sources (requiring, actually), and will probably provide them with a 1-page primer on creating adventures.

This is why I'm looking for One Sheets that are good examples of single session adventures. I want them to have a few good examples to look at use as a launching pad.

Now as to hosting a GM Workshop, Adam, that's not a bad idea. But I think that should wait a bit. The idea here is about writing a good adventure. All of these kids have great stories in their heads, and this will give them a bit of experience in putting that into an RPG framework. For the actual running of the game, they will be able to lean on the expertise of my team, and so won't be expected to manage all GMing duties by themselves. However, running a workshop in the future might not be a bad idea. Thanks for the suggestion.

Tom
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BluSponge
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So Adam has suggested Double Crossbones. Any other one-sheets that might make good examples for the players?

Looks like I need to spend some time in the Free Adventures thread.

Tom
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Sadric
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could look at some of the WOTC free adventure. many of them are really short. Didnt know if you like to spoil your kids with d20. Smile
I remember having a little booklet with a three-room dungeon as introduction to d20 (included very diluted rules for combat and characters) at some con. Such a thing would be nice, and you could make it alone.
I dont know what your kids had played, but i guess that something along this lines would be easier to make.

Treasure hunting and monster hunting and freeing the princess from the evil XYZ.

Maybe search for some ready, small dungeon maps (WOTC, Dundjini forum, sharkbytes) to inspire them.
And think about a way to simulate challenge ratings because my boy is allways tempted to "send more/stronger enemys" if I kill the first enemy (he didnt write an adventure, he simple make things up, like the mini-adventure I play with him).
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Claire
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you come across the 5 Room Dungeons? It's a really neat, easy to grasp, way of structuring simple adventures, in 5 scenes (which don't have to be dungeon-based at all. There's a decent explanation of them here - and there are plenty of example adventures and some more info here

It's a really simple structure for an adventure with a bit of variety in it.
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Big Bad Jack
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My favorite of the One-SHeets is still "Silent Night, Hungry Night" for Deadlands.
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manifold
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:20 am    Post subject: In addition... Reply with quote

In addition to published examples, you may want to give them some crystallization of what elements you feel are essential to a good adventure, and suggest types or themes of adventures to get them started (exploration, combat, mystery, etc.)

In CoC d20, the authors suggest that a good CoC adventure promises a story, offers a puzzle, and delivers a threat. I think you could do worse than use that as a jump-off point for a story.

Consider the one-sheet format, or a word or page count maximum. That will force your participants to get down to the essentials without getting bogged down in details.

If you know any writing teachers, you might ask them what they do to create a dynamite assignment. That will help you get a feel for how to clarify your expectations, which is essential to your participants' success. The more they know what's expected, the more likely they are to produce something good (or anything at all; empty pages can be very intimidating.)

Good luck. I'm really proud of what you're doing.

Edit: Sparks has a great free adventure called Clay Canyon Cold Snap, as well as an excellent list of adventure plots.

http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/cray.htm

http://www.io.com/~sjohn/plots.htm
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BluSponge
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey everyone!

The Adventure Design Contest for the Lewisville Library Roleplaying Program is now underway. We're a week into it, in fact.

I've started posting some tips on the blog to give the kids a bit of guidance. This includes the suggestions you guys made months ago. Now I'm wondering if any of you know of any good websites that discuss creating scenarios? I've linked to the 5-Room Dungeon project (great tip, Claire!) but I really want to give them something more complete and thorough. Anyone got anything hidden away in their bookmarks?

Thanks,
Tom
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manifold
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:34 pm    Post subject: SotC has got the goods Reply with quote

The Spirit of the Century SRD has a great section on writing adventures. It talks a lot about pulp and keeping it puply, but there's nothing in there that could hurt an rpg adventure and a lot that could improve or streamline one as well.

http://www.crackmonkey.org/%7Enick/loyhargil/fate3/fate3.html
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