Questions tagged [adventure-writing]

For questions about designing and writing adventures, for personal use or publication.

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10
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I justify complete failure of an elven village's magic as a plot point?

I'm preparing to run my first session as a GM (Pathfinder but I don't think it matters for this question). I love the world building side of things, so I'm not too interested in pre-published ...
7
votes
2answers
309 views

Picking the right CR for a tier two party's boss encounter?

I am currently writing an adventure for D&D 5e, for character levels anywhere from 5 to 10, and am trying to find the right boss. A Mummy Lord is the perfect monster for the plot, however the CR (...
22
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9answers
5k views

When designing an adventure, how can I ensure a continuous player experience in a setting that's likely to favor TPKs?

I am planning to design a Adventure which has a strong political flavor and is taking place in the Nine Hells. Its gonna be an evil campaign. I plan to let the heroes start at level 15 and require the ...
2
votes
1answer
137 views

How can I design a scenario to include one remote player in a way that accounts for the resulting issues? [closed]

Similar situation to this question: Tools/techniques for optimal tabletop gaming with one remote user I will have one remote player, but I'm not worried about technical aids. My question is rather ...
14
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3answers
2k views

Are there any other ways to travel between the layers of the Nine Hells besides the River Styx?

I'm planning on creating an adventure where the party become trapped in Nessus, the 9th layer of the Nine Hells, and must make their way through the layers of the Nine Hells up to Avernus, the 1st ...
7
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0answers
98 views

Using D&D as a medium to help learn IRL language? [closed]

I am a DM of a small group of friends; we prefer D&D 5e but this question can apply to any TTRPG. My friends have some experience with English, but are not comfortable with it. Lately I've been ...
12
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4answers
754 views

How could a Lich maintain the appearance of being alive without magic?

I'm designing a character for a campaign whose role is to be a recurring antagonist. When the players first meet him, I want him to seem undeniably human. The idea is that the party will "kill" him ...
11
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5answers
2k views

How can a Lich look like a human without magic?

This question is for 5e; I've posted a similar question for Pathfinder here. I'm designing a character for a campaign whose role is to be a recurring antagonist. When the characters first meet him, ...
7
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3answers
305 views

What type of creature would “canonically” want to take over a Goblin hideout?

I am running a The Lost Mines of Phandelver. The party has just completed the Cragmaw Hideout encounter in an interesting way: I realize that I am the DM and I can put whatever I want there and make ...
36
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14answers
9k views

How do I run a maze scenario without using a map?

Inspired by a question on another site, what's the best way to add a labyrinth to an adventure scenario without making the challenges contingent upon player skill at mapping or navigation? I'd like ...
1
vote
0answers
61 views

Any good free programs for written an adventure/setting book.m [closed]

I've been working on an adventure and my own campaign setting. I want to be able to share them online in a professional looking pdf or eBook format. I was wondering if anyone here knows a good program ...
25
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9answers
4k views

Are there any official guidelines for Shadowrun payouts?

I'm trying to figure out how much to pay Shadowrunners for a job, and how to balance the NPCs. I couldn't find anything in SR4A (though I could've missed something). I've only played in a couple of ...
24
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9answers
4k views

How can I avoid railroading in a sci-fi campaign?

I run a fantasy campaign and a sci-fi campaign. I always find it much easier to create interesting content in the fantasy world than the sci-fi world. In fantasy, for instance, a dungeon can be many ...
13
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3answers
1k views

Why were AD&D modules designed for so many player characters?

Recently I've been looking through AD&D modules for session ideas. Something I've noticed is that many of the modules were designed for more player characters than I've generally seen in one ...
16
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7answers
638 views

How do I write a one-off scenario that could lead into a larger campaign?

Here's the situation: I've got a group of people interested in getting together for a fantasy roleplaying game, with me as their GM. This particular group hasn't all gamed together before, we're ...
38
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15answers
2k views

How do I keep NPCs from just sounding the alarm?

When I design adventures, I often come up with situations where the NPCs could realistically thwart the PCs quickly by sounding an alarm. This is especially common in science fiction settings, where ...
14
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14answers
3k views

Where do I get inspiration for good scenarios? [closed]

What are the best [not only RPG related] sources of ideas for a good scenario? I'm not asking about ready scenarios, but inspiration to create your own. For starters: Shutter Island movie - good ...
9
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5answers
874 views

How can I balance adventures around one of the party members being a monarch with bodyguards?

So for our campaign, we're trying something different just to see how it works out. We have a party of several standard D&D characters, and also, a king character. The king character is ...
16
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5answers
3k views

How do I turn a scenario idea into an adventure?

I'm still struggling with, as a GM, turning a scenario idea or a goal of the PCs' into a proper adventure. A proper adventure has challenging, multiple steps — I'm failing to get the “multiple steps” ...
2
votes
1answer
522 views

How can I seamlessly incorporate character backstory into a pre-written campaign? D&D 5e [closed]

I am about to start a long running campaign with a bunch of friends and because of the predicted length, several of my player wrote me several pages of backstory and I really want to incorporate them ...
5
votes
3answers
184 views

Looking for survivalist compound materials [closed]

I'm running a post-apocalyptic campaign in GURPS 4E, and the PCs are probably going down the path where their arch villain will be the leader of a survivalist group that has some crazy notions and ...
20
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6answers
5k views

How do I cover a vast area of land with dense vegetation?

I need help to introduce a plot device for the next scenario I intend to GM. I need a way to cover a large area of grassland (a few miles in radius) with high, thick and near impenetrable vegetation. ...
2
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0answers
468 views

How to write an enjoyable multi-table adventure? [closed]

Together with a few friends, we want to run an interleaved D&D 5E multi-table adventure (Adventure League “EPIC”, Pathfinder Society “Special”, “Battle Interactive”) for our games society in the ...
9
votes
2answers
662 views

How can I reference a Monster Manual stat block in an OGL adventure?

I'd like to publish an OGL adventure for 5e. In order to keep its size small, I'd like to avoid having to repeat stat blocks for simple creatures like the skeleton, the zombie, etc. And because not ...
32
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10answers
9k views

True Resurrection ruins plot hooks

The existence of the spell True Resurrection is playing havoc with my plot hooks. A king's daughter (his heir) was a high level adventurer who got TPKed while fighting an excessively powerful monster. ...
4
votes
2answers
344 views

How do I make quests rewarding for my player?

General question: Beside money or items, what else might be the reward of a quest? If the quest itself if supposed to be the reward, how to make the quest itself rewarding? Specific premise: I am a ...
4
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2answers
1k views

What AL Treasure Tier is a trained mount or an exotic pet beast?

We are writing a CCC Convention Adventure for Adventurers League that grants animals as part of the treasure blocks. Adventurers League generally restricts the frequency and commonality of the magic ...
24
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6answers
50k views

How do I build interesting dungeons? [closed]

I'm a new GM and I need to undestand how to build enjoyable locations. I don't get how to build interesting dungeons. For example, I need to explore a castle. But a castle is not as complicated as ...
4
votes
1answer
230 views

How do Author Only Adventures privileges get granted in Adventurers League?

Author Only adventures are adventures for Adventurers League (AL) that are written by individuals that can only be run in their own campaigns as Adventurers League official until sold on DMsGuild. ...
7
votes
1answer
293 views

What are Tier appropriate gold awards for Adventurers League adventures?

How can I get my adventure published as an Adventurer's League official module? describes the process for submitting adventures from conventions to Adventurers League to become certified “legal” ...
2
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1answer
2k views

What is Tier appropriate treasure for Adventurers League adventures?

This SE question describes the process for submitting adventures from conventions to Adventurers League to become certified “legal” CCC-AL adventures. Adventurers League generally restricts the ...
12
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12answers
2k views

How do I design a Christmas-themed horror adventure?

'Tis soon the season and I want to treat my players to a Christmas-themed adventure as part of my ongoing horror campaign. I want to keep the horror element, but I don't mind mixing in a bit of humor ...
1
vote
1answer
223 views

How to avoid imbalance when introducing a necessary but powerful item with this scenario on inter planer travel. (A followup question) [closed]

In my previous question I asked about the legitimacy of creating an interplanar portal that would return PCs to the wrong place or time. Can I have an interplanar portal return someone to the wrong ...
13
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2answers
760 views

How has the relative combat prowess of Bugbears as opposed to Goblins changed over time?

Bugbears are the big bad goblinoids. A single average bugbear has always been more than a match for a single average goblin, in a straight up fight (which sort of fighting neither generally employs). ...
7
votes
3answers
878 views

What good options are there for this version of a classic D&D moral quandary? [closed]

In Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Module 3, the players eventually come to room 10A. My question is... what are the players' options for dealing with the contents of this room? Some possibilities come to ...
9
votes
3answers
755 views

How are monsters/creatures/npcs presented in Fate setting manuals?

Background I'd like to add a list of creatures, monsters, and characters to a Fate project, like the D&D Monster Manual. I understand that the GM usually writes NPCs custom per game, but I want ...
2
votes
0answers
89 views

A way for zombies and humans to cohexist [closed]

Preliminary Information I couldn't find any other reliable website where I could ask this question, even though it has no specific answer (which the rules suggest). But I have a strong feeling this ...
3
votes
0answers
427 views

Help Running a 5e Wilderness Trek (Hour-by-Hour) [closed]

So I will be DMing D&D 5e for the first time with a couple of friends (who will also be playing D&D for the first time), so I created a simple homebrew adventure. It's a Point A to Point B ...
0
votes
4answers
1k views

How can I plausibly force the party to choose between saving one of two NPCs? [closed]

In an adventure I am currently writing, I want to force my players to make a choice between saving one of two NPCs. I think it's important that the players make a choice between these two NPCs to ...
6
votes
2answers
376 views

What should be included in a standard 4E D&D encounter? How would this be written in the adventure?

I'm a big D&D fan, but haven't played in ten years or so. The last time I played, it was AD&D 2nd edition. I am trying to write an adventure for a friend, and I'm sort of confused as to what ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

How do I make random adventures relevant to player motivations in a Sandbox Hexcrawl Campaign?

I've spent my vacations planning my very first sandbox, however, I noticed that, being a hexcrawl, most of the time my players will be exploring the world and sometimes, they might spend a lot of time ...
1
vote
2answers
395 views

How to build an interesting Dungeon that exists to kill the players? [closed]

So, here's the deal. I'm DMing this campaign for a long time using the Brazilian scenario called Tormenta. They have 20 superior gods for the world of Arton. My players are about to get to the epic ...
11
votes
3answers
399 views

Isolation and the unknown in modern horror/investigative scenarios

I am currently planning my next long term game and intend to run a Cthulhu based campaign set in the modern era. I have experience of writing scenarios for the 1920's, but am having issues with some ...
2
votes
4answers
252 views

How do I balance ASoIaF's theme and tone with fun for my April Fools'-themed session? [closed]

I am currently the GM of an A Song Of Ice And Fire RPG game for a small group of old classmates. As we do neither have a set schedule nor meet very often, (once every couple of months or so) I spend a ...
4
votes
1answer
776 views

How do I make this idea of a Session 0 game of a campaign work?

I've recently finished reading Dungeon World and will be running a session 0 as a first time GM for my friends, who are also almost completely new to the tabletop RPGs, and I'd like to ask you for ...
5
votes
1answer
187 views

Can having the ultimate outcome of a one-shot adventure rest on a final roll work?

I'm new to RPGs and I'm part of a group with more experienced players. My challenge right now is to create a short adventure as a one-shot (and that's why I'm asking here and not them). We use AD&...
5
votes
4answers
620 views

How many (loosely linked) layers of story are managable for the players? [closed]

While plotting the course of our "campaign", picking up adventure or story ideas, I have come to a point where multiple plots interleave. But not in the classic, homogeneous "adventure -> story arc -> ...
18
votes
6answers
4k views

Convincing characters to take up epic quests in a (mostly) realistic world

Background I'm the DM of a role playing group. Improvised rule set. I've created a world for my players where I have tried to be as close to 16th century reality as possible, with the additions of ...
10
votes
1answer
287 views

How to design an introductory adventure heavily based on exploration and interaction with the environment? [closed]

Tower of the Stargazer and B1:In Search of the Unknown are two of my favorite introductory modules. The main reason is their focus on exploration; in particular, they feature extensive possibilities ...
15
votes
4answers
284 views

Where can I post quests I've written online for others to use and benefit from? [closed]

I've written a few quests now and documented them fairly thoroughly. Are there any places online where I can share them so that others would be able to review and use them if they needed to? It would ...