My old GM used to make our quests highly modular and separated. While this had some advantages, it gave the feeling of running through a video game with discrete levels where we just popped from one to the next as opposed to playing through an adventure, so when I GM I've always tried to drop some sort of 'lead-in' at the end of the quest to make it naturally flow to the next. Some ideas I've used:
- As the players defeat the villain in his personal chamber, they find a mysterious letter on his desk that suggests he'd had some dealings with a group of goblins who are know planning to ambush a nearby village.
- The blacksmith whose son the players rescued asked them to deliver a letter to his cousin in a nearby town, who just happens to mention that his employer is looking for a group of adventurers to perform some thievery for him.
- As the villagers the players rescued from a tribe of kobolds return home, one of them mentions that they couldn't find the letter they'd been reading before they attacked in the night, but he does remember that the hamlet to the South was in a state of grave peril.
How can I make a quest successfully 'lead' to another and make the adventure seem like one big story as opposed to a bunch of smaller quests? What are some common ways to do this that you have used successfully? I've noticed that I often just have the characters encounter a tasty piece of information that suggests where they might find their next adventure, but I'm sure there are other ways that accomplish the goal even better and was curious what ideas other people used, how they came up with them, and what they looked for to create a smooth gaming experience. :D