Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Back from a long break...Adventure Style

Wow...has it really been seven months?

Well, real life has been unbelievably busy - but I'm finding a bit of time to do some game surfing and thinking these days.

I was thinking about stocking wilderness hexes today and I just can't seem to decide on what to do. There's lots of good advice - a real benefit to this renaissance that's going on - but I don't think I just want randomness. I want a map that's somewhat complete. But not superdetailed. Um... Keep on the Borderland's outdoor map is a good starting point (though pretty small). A handful of evocative encounter set-pieces. Just enough information to give a good DM something to run with.

I've been looking over some of the material I wrote in High School. Yeah, it's pretty bad. But here's the thing. I see the two major influences I had in scenario design:

EX2 The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror
DL1 - Dragons of Despair

Yep - as I look at the stuff I wrote in high school, I can see Gygax's Alice in Wonderland adaptation all over - "pathways" through forests and ultra powerful beings like Murlynd showing up (or at least their houses!!). And from DL1 I drew Events and Encounters - but encounters that were...kind of story-bound, if you will. I even tried to do a perspective map of (you guessed it) an ultra powerful mage's abode... in this post

But this was supposed to be about hex filling...oh well, next time. Anyway, so my Gygax introduction (after the Greyhawk supplement which only gave tantalizing hints at what this sprawling and awesome Castle Greyhawk was all about) was the weirdest of his releases. It would be another year or so before I purchased the D series (my friend Steve had the G series, so I bought the D series) as well as the S modules (never did finish Tomb of Horrors, I don't think...maybe we did - but at the time we were pretty hardcore munchkins so who knows). So reading EX1 & 2 I thought that's how scenarios were written...and I followed suit.

When DL1 came out I was blown away. I really thought it was the perfect adventure (and I'll talk a bit about that next time). So I read and re-read the adventure and it really affected how I wrote scenarios after that - there was story, grand over arching plots that moved the characters along like the current of a river (most of the high school plots, though, had to do with hobbits being captured by orcs and the like...sigh...not the most creative of my generation, I suppose).

Eventually, I came into my own way of creating adventures - but I still have a soft spot for the zany funhouse dungeon and the plotted out railroad...