Monday, November 7, 2016

Adventure Stats

(Probably used the above image before)  The purpose for writing this article, as always, is to help beginning GMs to establish adventures for their parties.  For greater information on how I set up a game, my other article should be floating around on this blog, but I'm too lazy to reference it with a link.  But to business: this thing, which I am writing at this moment, the moment I'm writing, is a simple rundown for individual adventures, which can be applied to any campaign setting.

What you will need: a notebook (ideally one of those grid notebooks so you can draw fanciful maps, which also contain little notes you can reference).  Other than this a pen would do nicely, unless you lack the courage to stray away from a pencil with an eraser.  Erasers are for chumps.

Now use the following statistics, which I have created to resemble AD&D monster statistics (because lists are more fun).

Adventure Name: the name for your adventure.  It should be short, catchy and make it easy to pick it out from other adventures.  For example: "Stranded on the Gusty Bluffs" or "Down the Grotto's Throat."

Problem: a snazzy sentence that encapsulates exactly what the adventure.  Something like: "some Rakshasas, disguised as merchants, sell the PCs rings of protection that paralyze them; the PCs are imprisoned in a maze and made to fight their way to a central tower where the Rakshasas watch them in amusement."

Hook: a paragraph or two describing how the adventure is introduced to the PCs.  Using the above example, naturally the PCs will smell a trap if it's simply presented to them, so for this type of adventure you may want to wait until the PCs are buying magic items and then switch "rings of protection" over to whatever magic item they are buying.

NPCs: a list of important NPCs, both good, bad and totally neutral.  Be as specific and as brief as necessary when describing side characters and never have characters who participate in combat more than the PCs: they're co-players, not spectators.

Obstacles: this section lists encounter tables for roaming monsters, important steps the PCs need to take to reach certain places and other limitations that challenge their progress in completing the adventure.

Locales: details on the places the PCs need to visit.  This is connected with obstacles in many ways, except that the GM may wish to include maps and other pictures that the PCs will reference.

Rewards: experience points and treasure that the PCs come upon, whether they receive it as payment for completing a quest or if they discover a treasure hoard in a monster's lair.  If you wish, you could itemize the treasures for each creature the PCs encounter, depending on how detailed you want to be.

Example Adventure

"The Mist Sweeps in From the Hills"
Problem: a town is attacked by undead whenever fog blows in; one of the residents has stolen an evil artifact from a tomb and it needs to be destroyed at the tomb to end an ancient curse.
Hook: the PCs witness the undead attacking while staying at an inn at a small town.
NPCs: Mayor Hurst (LN human), Emmy Loon (old, CG human), Feldegrast (secretive NN half elf)
Obstacles: after the PCs witness the first zombie attack, they are asked to join in a town meeting at the local chapel where they overhear Mayor Hurst questioning the locals about any strange goings on.  People believe the culprit is Emmy Loon; a strange old woman who lives on the outskirts of town and is known for practicing an unregistered form of alchemy.
When the PCs are asked to visit Emmy Loon, she tells them, in a rather round about way, that it was not she who caused the undead, but she does recall having seen Feldegrast wandering up in the hills just before she caught the first scent of undead mischief.
When the PCs track down Feldegrast, they learn that he has fallen on hard times and went looting the barrows up in the hills to find something he could sell.  All he found was a cankered silver cup, which he hid under the floorboards of the house.
When the PCs travel to the barrow out in the hills they find an underground crypt overrun with undead creatures.  At the heart of it there is a special chamber used to perform dark ceremonies and a tattered book explaining that the cup was placed on a pedestal to seal away the tomb's power and force the evil spirits within to sleep eternally.
Locales: the town of Sudbarr (small town with a population of around 500 individuals).  The hills (wide expanse of wilderness with many roaming creatures, especially undead)  Hidden barrow (a lengthy crypt filled with roaming undead and comprised of intertwining hallways that center on a circular chamber that may only be opened with the keys of skeletal guards, which roam about in special areas of the crypt.  Traps in the crypt consist of noxious gasses seeping from cracks in the floor and potential cave-ins from opening some of the larger doors.
Rewards: each encountered creature has its own loot, but in the ceremony chamber at the heart of the barrow crypt the PCs will find 1d100 of each type of coinage, 1d6 random gems, 1d4 art objects, 1d3 potions, 1d3 scrolls and 1d2 magical weapons.

In closing; why write these down?  Why write anything down?  Because your head comes up with more ideas than it can store!  (Unless you're some kind of mental freak, in which case you are one lucky S. O. B.)  But in all honesty, you will want to thank and kiss your own reflection ten years down the road when you dust off this notebook and discover that you have already prepared dozens, if not hundreds of adventures for your players.  Your players will want to kiss you, in which case you may need to hold a separate discussion with them.  But really, it can be hard to come up with adventures on the spot, so when your campaign hits a lull, just spring one of these little beauties on your players and let them get to work cracking it open.

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