Jump to content

What is your favorite type of adventure


Recommended Posts

What the title says.

Do you like quests to save the maiden from the dragon? Or to save the dragon from the evil maiden?

Seeking the grail?

Arcs that tie in closely with character background and complications?

Pure treasure quests? Dungeon crawls to find and eliminate the evil necromancer / Ogre Magi / Dark Prince / [insert master villain here]?

 

Tell me about it.

 

- E

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am always the Game Master - never a Player. Which is good because none of my players have any interest in GMing and frankly, I am a terrible player. Maybe it's because I am somewhat of a control freak :/ But on to the topic question...

 

I like gritty, low-magic, street-level fantasy adventures where there are lots of intrigue, double-crosses, and surprises where nothing is black and white. The players have to think and put the clues together, or else they can (and sometimes do) die. I feel without the possibility of permanent character death, proper role playing is difficult to obtain. I guess if there was a literature series that is close, it would be Game of Thrones, but the players are not playing noble characters.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I will admit that I often take plots from books and TV shows and fit them to a fantasy genre. I have taken inspiration from James Bond plots, Louis Lamour westerns, Goosebumps, Star Trek, and others. By taking the story and boiling it down to 1 or 2 sentences you get a general goal of the adventure. Then I divide the adventure up into 2-3 acts depending on how long we plan on playing. Each act is usually about two real hours of game play. I further divide the acts into 2-4 scenes with a single objective or obstacle for each scene. Try to keep each scene to 30-60 minutes. This gives me an outline of an average of 8 scenes for a 4-6 hour games session.

 

For each scene, I decide on:

1 - The Adventure or Act opener for the first scene.

2 - Scene description (what should happen).

3 - Contingencies (what could happen).

4 - Allies, Enemies, Obsticles, Red Herrings, Clues, Rewards, etc.

5 - Transition to next scene or scenes if a non-linear adventure.

6 - Act or Adventure Conclusion

 

That's my process and I have been using it since 1978.

It works for me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to run my games pretty freeform so that I can tailor them around the players. Mostly, I used published adventures to mine for ideas or specific encounters. Otherwise, I find it far more enjoyable to have:

1) A list of bad guys  

2) A list of friendly NPCs

3) A list of monsters

4) A list of pre-generated powers

5) Some generic location maps

6) A list of the characters' story hooks (Complications, Aspects, etc.)

7) Some pre-generated treasures

8) A very basic outline of the current "situation" where the characters are at.

 

All the above with game stats.

 

 

Published Adventures

My favorite adventure module was Under Illefarn. It is an old AD&D adventure that details the environs around the Duchy of Daggerford. The whole area was added to the Forgotten Realms, but it was obvious that there was some shoehorning going on there. I've also enjoyed most of the Dragonlance adventurers, but that is mostly for the cool environs and general story concepts more than the flow of the adventure. The original Ravenloft, with the modular approach to how the adventure played out, was also very neat to me. It has informed my roleplaying experience a great deal.

 

I like the way early Shadowrun adventures were written, with a particular shout out to the Universal Brotherhood. The Legwork sections in those modules were gold, in terms of teaching me how to use things like Contacts and Access (to borrow Hero terminology).

 

All that said, I have literally ran or played in over a hundred pre-published adventures. Some were good. Others not so good. All of them were useful to some degree or another, even if that use was to show me how NOT to do something. A lot of the classic Gygax adventures are examples of how not to do things; at least for my style of play. I've missed some classics (like Masks of Nyarlathotep for Call of Cthulhu) but overall I've had a pretty rich gaming experience thanks to published modules.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dungeon crawl, with a couple of caveats.  First, it doesn't have to be a dungeon so much as it has to involve an element of exploration.  Second, there needs to be an overall goal beyond murder hobo: Find the X, or kill the Y, or rescue the Z.  Third, there needs to be a complication.  A standard dungeon crawl is boring.  A dungeon crawl where you're racing another adventuring party, or where the Z will be killed in a few hours, or where you're being hunted by an insane necromancer is more interesting.  And harder.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorite by far is dark fantasy at a gritty level. Superstition, the hint of the supernatural, and lots of ways to die from bad choices.

 

I'm currently running a game based loosely on the Witcher series.  The characters are in the beginning stages of a larger quest to find an artifact that lies far to the north in the mountains. The artifact has the potential to open up a gateway to their world that would allow ancient evil forces to enter. The artifact is also being sought by a group of power-hungry sorcerers who want it for themselves.

 

Along the way, they have to deal with short episodic adventures destroying local supernatural creatures (thus the Witcher theme), while traveling through towns and villages in the border areas contested by two countries at war. There are mercenary companies, troops, bandits, corrupt political foes, witch hunters who imprison or kill all who use magic, and currently a real witch who they let escape in a previous adventure in their way.

 

I try to capture the feelings of fear and danger for the players. In a world where most of the characters don't have powerful magic, something as simple as being hunted by the witch in the woods at night can be very entertaining. She uses a spell that extinguishes light sources such as torches or lanterns in a burst of sparks. It flares up, temporarily blinding those who are close, and then leaves them in total darkness.

 

It's been effective! :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

At the moment I'm looking help in building intrigue , political or otherwise.

 

Mysteries in a fantasy setting are fun they magic can complicate that.

If you are looking for inspiration check out the Hawk & Fisher books by Simon R. Green,  the Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce, and the Chronicles of Elantra by Michelle Sagara.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Short answer: anything that's not dungeon-crawling murder hobos.

 

Longer version...

 

I burned out on fantasy many years ago because I was bored with all the standard D&D tropes. Back when I was younger and ran more fantasy, my games tended to throw the PCs into the middle of epic power struggles of one kind or another: variations on "Only We Can Stop The Dark Lord" or "We Must Keep The McGuffin From Falling Into The Wrong Hands" and so forth. There was some politics but not Game Of Thrones-level. High-magic, and morality tended to be pretty black and white. Treasure is nice, but isn't the primary motivation. Character deaths were rare, but always a risk. I was a wargamer too, so there was a high probability of morphing into a miniatures battle for the Grand Finale.

 

Fast-forward to today: the campaign I just launched is low/historical fantasy with a Stop The Dark Lord-esque metaplot, interspersed with McGuffin hunts and a lot more social and political scheming. (Partly because my current group of players are just way better at that stuff.) Definitely still a lot of strong blacks & whites, but maybe a little more ambiguity in the greyish middle. It's interesting looking back to see what has changed in my campaign creation preferences - a lot of similar flavors but hopefully with more depth and better coloring.

 

My biggest pet peeve - which is not unique to the fantasy genre, but seems to be worse there - is adventures where the PCs could just as easily be replaced by any other group of random adventurers of similar power level. I weary of stories about strangers who meet in a tavern, find a map, and shenanigans ensue - I'd much rather run and play in games written around the specific PCs - or have at least been adapted to the specific PCs.

 

2nd biggest pet peeve: magic that is so common and routine that it loses any sense of mystery or wonder. I clearly remember when I decided I was done with D&D-style fantasy: the moment when I realized my character's best magic items had not been acquired through epic quests or wrested from their previous users, but had either been found in a random treasure chest of Level 7, or worse purchased in the marketplace. [yawn]

Link to post
Share on other sites

...

My biggest pet peeve - which is not unique to the fantasy genre, but seems to be worse there - is adventures where the PCs could just as easily be replaced by any other group of random adventurers of similar power level. I weary of stories about strangers who meet in a tavern, find a map, and shenanigans ensue - I'd much rather run and play in games written around the specific PCs - or have at least been adapted to the specific PCs.

 

2nd biggest pet peeve: magic that is so common and routine that it loses any sense of mystery or wonder. I clearly remember when I decided I was done with D&D-style fantasy: the moment when I realized my character's best magic items had not been acquired through epic quests or wrested from their previous users, but had either been found in a random treasure chest of Level 7, or worse purchased in the marketplace. [yawn]

I completely agree with these pet peeves, especially the second. Which is why my campaigns have morphed into a low magic game. By low magic, I more accurately mean that powerful magic is very rare. Finding the street Mage who can weave a couple of minor spells (10 active points or less) could actually be easily found. Also, the local priest who can heal 1d6 damage for a loyal follower isn't uncommon. But any magic more powerful than that or permanent magic items are "as rare as hen's teeth", to quote one of my players.

 

There is only one permanent magic item in the party, and it took a three game session adventure to steal it from another (less good) temple. The item is a spear that has the ability to damage non-corporal entities (spirits, ghosts, etc.). It doesn't do any additional damage, just it can hit them.

 

This spear was necessary to defeat a malicious spirit that was controlling the lord of a village and making life miserable for the townfolks. Now, the spear is their most valuable possession not only due to its magic, but it's beauty and the history they have made with it. The lord they saved from the spirit with the spear is now their patron.

 

The only other three magic items currently in the party are;

(1) Potion of Luck (1d6 Luck, duration 4 hours, 1 dose).

(2) Perfurm of Charm (+2 to Charm vs opposite men, duration 4 hours, 4 doses).

(3) Elixer of Healing (1d6 Healing, 4 doses).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dungeon crawl, with a couple of caveats. First, it doesn't have to be a dungeon so much as it has to involve an element of exploration. Second, there needs to be an overall goal beyond murder hobo: Find the X, or kill the Y, or rescue the Z. Third, there needs to be a complication. A standard dungeon crawl is boring. A dungeon crawl where you're racing another adventuring party, or where the Z will be killed in a few hours, or where you're being hunted by an insane necromancer is more interesting. And harder.

Very much agreed!

Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing is, what makes a dungeon crawl interesting is what makes any adventure interesting; if its just a romantic intrigue in a castle, its going to be boring unless its fresh and new or it has something else to make the game have more meaning.  Its just dungeon crawls are all people did for a long time and they get a bad rap.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm tired of epic quests to stop the overlord, or find the thingy that will otherwise destroy the world.

 

At this point, in fantasy, I like playing smaller and more personal adventures.  Taking a low level guy through a series of modules sounds great to me.  Give me a dungeon crawl, then follow it up with something kinda related, and then bridge that to another dungeon crawl.  The characters aren't destined for greatness, you could get killed by a trap and the universe will just keep right on going.  Just let me kill some orcs or undead, get some treasure, and then go have fun spending it.  Not everybody has to be a daring hero.  Sometimes Shrek just wants his swamp back.

 

Most fun I had in a fantasy game (and it's been probably 7 or 8 years ago by now), we broke out the original D&D, the one with 3 little booklets.  We used the rules for using monsters as PCs, and we had 3 players playing 3 ogres.  We rampaged through some little dungeon, carrying around a large sack full of slain enemies (we called it the "food bag").  We had a blast.  They were great characters, but they certainly weren't on any noble quest.  They were searching for money and people who might taste interesting.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm tired of epic quests to stop the overlord, or find the thingy that will otherwise destroy the world.

 

At this point, in fantasy, I like playing smaller and more personal adventures.  Taking a low level guy through a series of modules sounds great to me.  Give me a dungeon crawl, then follow it up with something kinda related, and then bridge that to another dungeon crawl.  The characters aren't destined for greatness, you could get killed by a trap and the universe will just keep right on going.  Just let me kill some orcs or undead, get some treasure, and then go have fun spending it.  Not everybody has to be a daring hero.  Sometimes Shrek just wants his swamp back.

 

This is also an important consideration. One of the things I am tired of in fantasy fiction is the concept of a "Chosen One." Same pretty much applies to any genre of roleplaying game. At most, foiling the machinations of somebody trying to mess with a small section of the world is good enough for me. I don't need to beat down Sauron or Kal-Turak in order to have fun. Taking down Garg, the Orc Chieftain, to save the Village of Sweetwater is plenty sufficient for me.

 

A campaign setting that focuses on the twisting machinations of competing thieves guilds fighting a street level cold war would be amazing. Throw in the occasional tomb robbing, the offhand heist. the occasional assassination, and maybe some exterior threat (the Paladins of Justice have had enough, a wererat gang seeks to muscle in on the action, etc.) to spice things up and you have a pretty amazing foundation for a long term, low impact game. To the average Joe, whoever runs the criminal enterprise makes no nevermind. He's gonna pay his "protection" money to somebody. The actual somebody only matters when the thugs come a'knocking. 

 

For those with loftier goals, protecting a small village in the Hinterlands from the ravages of local bandits and monsters may be up your alley. If the area is on a disputed border, maybe a few skirmishes between local militias place the village in danger of being caught in the middle. Perhaps, the heroes have a very solid place in the defeat of the world boss, but not by actually confronting him. Maybe their job is to assist the Church/Mages' Guild/Defiant Hero Wizard in locating some artifact that will ultimately be delivered to the Savior/Chosen One. Maybe it isn't even that urgent because the events foretold in the Prophecy haven't even started yet. Maybe along the way, they discover that a powerful necromancer is assembling the beginnings of an undead army. One that will surely wipe out the little village they have begun to call home. On the world scale, it is just a blip. To the people of the region, it is life or death. 

 

This message took longer than I expected. Guess I had more to say on the matter than I thought.

Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I like to do sometimes, in my spare time, is think about the "adventurers ecology" of the world.  In other words, how many 1st level guys are out there?  How many +1 swords?  Where did all that crap come from?  In a D&D type world, just how many low level dungeons are out there?

 

It makes sense to me that nearly every little village or town would have an old temple, or a cave complex, or some sort of half-collapsed keep nearby.  Maybe several nearby villages "share" the same run down castle.  In an adventuring world, maybe every generation, your average town will have 4 or 5 young people decide to run off and seek treasure.  It's kind of an expected thing.  Half of them probably don't come back from their first quest, and many of those that do decide to retire on what they grabbed from that tomb they explored.

 

I kind of like the idea of playing one of those groups.  They're nobodies, really.  Even after a few adventures, they might be famous locally, but it's not like killing two ogres and a goblin tribe is gonna get you international fame.  There's probably always some new group of guys in their late teens/early 20s, showing up thinking they're awesome.  It's the human equivalent of an orc raiding party. ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm tired of epic quests to stop the overlord, or find the thingy that will otherwise destroy the world.
 
At this point, in fantasy, I like playing smaller and more personal adventures.

 

I don't run games like that, although I did once in a while in the past.  But I agree, keep it smaller in scale and more personal, just focus on life and getting through the world.  In fact, that's the kind of fantasy I write -- I don't mean to say those huge epic doorstops are bad, I just wanted to write something more personal and micro.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...