Ryan McRae

Ryan McRae

Creator of Burn the Tavern Down.
Bringing Creativity Back to Gaming.

BTTD #40: We all have to start somewhere.

Friends,

Hope you are staying safe and washing your hands. (Remember those handwashing memes? Ha ha ha.)

A lot of people are starting to play RPGs online, using Zoom and other online resources like Roll20 (which is something I want to learn during this weird time.)

When first starting out, I always suggest using something that’s already made. One of my favorite D&D products is the Essentials Kit. This kit has everything: starting characters, a couple of adventures and a step by step way to play for the Dungeon Master and the players.

The Essentials Kit

But I hear you, some of you want to make your own adventures and you want to come up with your own little plot.

How can you create something that isn’t just: “Go to the other town and bring back the carrots that were lost.” Or my personal favorite, “Can you go to the basement of the tavern and get rid of the rats.” Sure it can be fun, and if people are new to gaming, this could manage it, but we can do better.

Let’s do better!

Every adventure needs a couple of things to make it intriguing. Here are just a few components you have to have to make an adventure worth having.

Problem: Your characters have to have a problem—it doesn’t necessarily have to be their problem, but something that needs to be fixed and they are the ones to do it.

The town’s water supply is cut off and people are thirsty.

An orc village has popped up next store and needs to be handled.

Skeletons from the nearby graveyard are rising up. Gross.

Now your players expect problems. It’s the reason we gather—we want to save the day, be proclaimed heroes, and get some loot!

Antagonist: There has to be someone or something behind the problem. It can’t just be skeletons—there has to be a necromancer behind it. A druid has rerouted the water because she wasn’t invited to the Autumn Festival. Something. There has to be a boss that needs to be defeated (and it doesn’t have to be this adventure where the boss is defeated, but somewhere down the line.)

If you are having problems coming up with one, steal one from one of your favorite action movies. Try Die Hard or Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Complications: Don’t make an adventure A to B. Oh, you killed the skeletons and chased away the necromancer? Easy-peasy-dragon-squeezy. Don’t do that.

Make your players sweat and here are some complications that do just that:

Add a time-limit: The characters have to do whatever by the next full moon or something terrible happens.

Weather: Whatever the adventure, having a storm blow in can reduce and mess up visiblity, cause flooding (especially if they have to be in a sewer. . . the water is rising.)

Secrecy: The players have to complete the quest without raising undo attention. Maybe it’s because there’s a political issue. Maybe they don’t want to raise the alarm. Oh, one of the players is a klutsy barbarian? Even better.

A race: Other NPC’s (Non-Player Characters) are racing to get to wherever your players are headed and they are playing dirty: setting traps, spreading lies, etc.

I’d love to hear what you are making and next week, I’m going to have some beginning quests that have all these (and more!) components.


Great Gaming Stuff Going Down!

My friend and hero, Mike Selinker is Kickstarting his game, Lords of Vegas for its 10th anniversary. Everything Mike prints is pure gold and I can’t recommend it enough.

If you are looking for a little role playing game that looks deep check out this FREE beginning module here: GODS is a Dark Fantasy tabletop roleplaying game based on adventure, epic quests and exploration. A journey to the far reaches of the Wildlands, a vast and brutal land abandoned by the gods, where the grim Cult of the Black Sun is spreading like a plague!

It looks dark and spooky. Right up my alley

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