After a long hiatus, Roll To Confirm Critical Returns! I’m returning with a vengeance. I have many new ideas and tips for all aspiring DMs. I will try updating weekly. In addition to that I'll be making some adventures and worlds and putting them on the site.
Writing Interesting Adventures
Writing an adventure is relatively easy. The goal however is to write an interesting adventure that the party will remember and enjoy. It sounds easy enough but it can be pretty difficult or downright intimidating if you’ve never done it before and even for seasoned DMs it can be a challenge. In this installment of RTCC I’m going to give you tips and tricks for writing truly immersive adventures. The first step is to obviously choose the type of adventure you’d like to write and I will go in-depth with the choices and breakdown of an adventure flow in a following RTCC.
Railroad ONLY When Necessary
I used to be of the opinion that you should never railroad an adventure. The truth however, is that there are some times where you have to make the story in a specific way. As a general rule, try to make the story flow as malleable as possible. It does take more time to write an adventure like this but when you take the time to give them choices it can make for an exciting and enjoyable session. If you make your adventures open ended, the party either won’t notice or even care when you have to railroad them.
(Railroading an adventure is when you force the party down a specific path and don’t allow them to deviate or make choices.)
Let the PCs Fail Until it Hurts
Don’t write your adventures with only two endings; The party wins and the day is saved or The entire group dies horribly. Write your adventures so that the party can lose or somehow fail without dying. While this can be bad for a group it will quickly bring the focus to the game and in most cases will make the group work harder and give them a thirst for victory. In addition if you have it where they can fail the victory will be that much sweeter.
Remember Simba, Remember
Always keep notes of what the party does during the adventure. You’d be surprised how many ripples the group can make just going through a town. If you keep notes of what they do and what people tell them. It makes a party feel like they are in the game when they see someone several times and that person has an actual history.
Use Interesting Places
I’m pretty sure the Dungeon Master’s Guide goes over this pretty well and Paizo’s site may have more information as well but I’ll give you my tips. By interesting places I not only mean choose a flying castle that floats above the clouds that has been forgotten. I mean choose a place like that and make sure to describe that place. Giving a detailed description on how the stone looks weathered, is chipped and the castle has tattered remains of what was once regal looking flags is a much more intricate description and will invoke the imagination of your group.
Screw The Rules
Lastly there are times when your adventure is going one way and the party wants to do something you either didn’t plan for or something unfortunate happens. In those cases screw the rules. Do what you want, but try to go with the group. There is nothing more frustrating to a group then when they come up with something innovative and you immediately shoot it down or tell them they can’t. If you need it, tell the group you need a five minute break. Most likely the group will be pleased that they came up with an idea you hadn’t thought of.
I like to make a flow chart of what choices they have. Also when coming up with traps or plots I like to put myself in the position of the enemy and do things that they would feasibly do. A low Intelligence Barbarian would probably not come up with an overarching plot to replace the King with an imposter. The most important rule to follow is to have fun! That and try not to be too controlling of the game, its an experience that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in.