Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Finding a Concept for an Adventure

Last night I was writing. As I often do, I draw a batch of maps, put them in a folder and then when I want to write I chose a map that is inspiring me at that moment. Last night this simple grid map screamed it wanted my attention.

Those of you who don't know, I have a Patreon where I create micro-adventures or locations. Little pieces GMs can throw into their campaigns to fill in the spaces in between. Currently, I'm in the process of making a lot of ruins for the sandbox I'm developing. My idea is to map and detail 100 different ruins and put them in a random table so a GM can seed Komor Forest or their own campaign with various ruins.

Many times when I start writing I'm not sure what this map is about. Empty rooms and corridors waiting for words. While most times I'll write stream of consciousness and rift on whatever is going on in my head, this time I grabbed some books to help get the juices flowing. On my table were +Richard LeBlanc's glorious D30 Companion, Raging Swan Press's, GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing and lastly the ancient artifact of the Monster & Treasure Assortment: Sets One-Three: Levels One-Nine. All of these are worth grabbing.

I roll a few times on various tables, write down the results. It's then I start getting an idea what's going on in that map of mine. I wanted to keep this map/adventure simple. With the adventures I write for my Patreon, many don't have a backstory explaining its existence up front. I prefer to let the place tell, or hint, at the reason why it was built and what has happened. 

Again, most of this is me rifting off of a few detail I get from random tables. The random tables are a great tool because they take you to a place you probably wouldn't have gone. Given you an angle to play up for the adventure, that might not have existed. 

Still, I wanted to keep this a straight forward adventure. But while I am writing about a simple crypt some interesting details popped up that gives details about the people who are buried in the tombs. Slight hints of why they are there and new mundane and magic items. 

Death Coins: A simple tweaking of historical stuff. Coins made specifically for the dead to be spent on the after world. Minted with a crow and stored in their tombs. Northmen had to exchange the treasures they found in life for the currency used in the afterlife. And where do you get such coins, the shamans, temples or oracles of course. And it was not a one-for-one exchange. No. It was important that a death was accompanied by cache of death coins. If not, a beggar forever. While not completely explained in detail in the adventure, their importance is hinted at.

Spells as Treasure: I'm using Swords & Wizardry Light. The list of spells available to the players is minimal. It works. This gives me the opportunity to give the players a spell they would not normally have access to. I like that. Now the party's mage or cleric is wielding a spell few have access to. 

Useful Dungeon Stuff: One of my favorite things to add to adventures is dungeon stuff that proves useful. In this case, the adventures find crypt dust. Basically a body is so old that even the bones have turned to dust. I add a note in the adventure that so many doses can be harvested from the crypt and can be used to enhance a Speak with Dead spell. Instead of the usual three questions, the caster can ask four. It's not an overpowering effect, but something the players may find useful and if nothing else, can sell it for a pouch full of coins to a local mage. 

New Magic Items: When I create magic items my attempt is to make them unique. To give them a reason to exist. Magic items are rare and precious. Often they have side effects that are not helpful to the player. Like the ring I am working on, its not finished yet, the players find, while it helps with protecting the player, it costs blood to fuel its magic. I haven't worked out the details, and it is a low powered magic item so the cost will be minimal. However, in a game of S&WL, a single hit point makes all the difference in the world. 

Hope to have this adventure out by the weekend. I've got three other adventures in various stages of abandonment. I offer all these adventures for free, so you can grab them on my Patreon and check out my other offerings.