Adventure Generation

Brass Jester

Regular browsers probably know that I like creating adventure or background generation tables that, though they don't do all the work for you, do give you grounds for thought and perhaps lead your way of thinking off in another direction.
I recently aquired the (OOP) Dream Park RPG by R Talsorian Games. In it they had a scenario/adventure creation system that fired me up. I did some conversion work to convert it to CONAN and put it into practice.
It is so good, I would like to share it with everyone. The core is from R Talsorian and I have no intention of stepping on their toes; although I do believe that they took it from guidance on writing TV action show scripts.

The system works like this: There are five basic Beats: Hook-Development-Cliffhanger-Climax-Resolution. There is only one Hook, Climax and Resolution; with an indeterminate number of Developments and Cliffhangers in between. A Development is always followed by a Cliffhanger and vice versa.
They can be rolled randomly, the core method assumes you assign them.
Each Beat is assumed to take 1/2 hour to play, so a typical 4 hour session would consist of Hook - 5 Developments or Cliffhangers-Climax-Resolution
You write them on a sheet of paper in order, then fill in the blanks.

Charts will be posted next: be warned, this is a long post!
Further to the above; these are the charts and Beat descriptions.
CONAN RPG Beat Chart – Scripting

Follows this format: Hook – Development/Cliffhanger – Climax – Resolution.
Figure each Beat is ½ hr of game play. Therefore, a four-hour adventure is Hook, Climax and Resolution, accounting for 1½ hrs, leaving 2½ hrs to be made up of 5 Developments/Cliffhangers. These are always in alternating order, either D/C or C/D. This breaks up the action and allows time to pause.

1. Kidnapped
2. Coronet Blue
3. Play a Cliffhanger
4. Play a Development
5. Discovery
6. Crisis
7. Revelation
8. Murder
9. False Accusation
10. Looming Threat

1. Chase
2. Pursuit
3. Race
4. Fist Fight
5. Sea Battle
6. Confrontation
7. Duel
8. Battle
9. Monster
10. Ambush
11. Obstacles
12. Contest
13. Skirmish

1. Warning
2. Hidden Weakness
3. Revelation
4. Advantage Revealed
5. Clue
6. Retreat
7. Hesitation
8. Mistaken Identity
9. Villains Monologue
10. Secret Meeting
11. Personal Stake
12. Second Chance
13. Gain Mastery
14. Alliance
15. Betrayal
16. Sabotage
17. Foreshadowing
18. Not What It Seems
19. Strange Bedfellows
20. Turnabout!
21. Romance
22. Lie Revealed
23. Hazardous Quest
24. Puzzle
25. Framed
26. Obsession
27. Back From The Dead
28. Rescuers
29. Vengeance!

1. Final Revelation
2. Final Battle

1. Happy Ending
2. Villain is Killed
3. Villain Surrenders
4. Villain Escapes
5. Heroes Captured
6. Heroes Escape
7. Ending Cliffhanger
8. Greater Threat

Daring Escape
Played if the PC’s ended the last Adventure captured by the opposition.
PC’s are kidnapped, friend is kidnapped, or Important NPC is kidnapped. Probably by unknown (at this time) perpetrators
Coronet Blue
PC’s awake is some dangerous or difficult situation (e.g.: in a slavers caravan) with little or no memory of how they got there. The remainder of the Hook is either getting out of the situation or learning more about it.
Play a Cliffhanger
Confrontation, Ambush or Fist Fight are good ones to start.
Play a Development
Secret Meeting, Mistaken Identity, Romance or Treachery are good ones to start.

Find an item, ancient scroll or map that directly links in to the adventure.
An on-going crisis of threatening proportions e.g.: war, famine, drought, plague etc.
Previously hidden fact (inheritance, secret past, curse, mysterious parentage revealed).Has the new noble suddenly inherit a few family enemies?
Friend/relative/ally/innocent victim. PC’s should be involved or implicated but cannot catch murderer at this point.
False Accusation
PC’s falsely accused of crime (xref: The God in the Bowl). A woman points them out to the guards. A man falls dead at their feet, stabbed in the back.
Looming Threat
Similar to Crisis but hasn’t happened yet. War is brewing between Koth and Argos; so far only a few have died of the horrible disease. The notorious murderer has escaped vowing vengeance.
PC’s are chasing the opposition. Can be on foot, horse or by sea. Usually linked to previous Beat to give reason.
The opposition is chasing PC’s. Various modes of transport (e.g. PC’s on foot being pursued by horsemen). Usually linked to previous Beat to give reason.
PC’s must race the opposition to reach a goal first. Goal can be a person, place or thing.
Fist Fight
PC’s (or a champion) meet opposition in face-to-face combat. Usually wrestling or brawling; sometimes ritualised (only one hand, semi-darkness etc.) Also encompasses tavern brawls and riots.
Sea Battle
A naval battle or boarding attempt. In extreme circumstances can stretch to aerial combat.
A non-physical fight, using threats and intimidation, e.g. opposition give PC’s till dusk to get out of town. No physical combat takes place.
A ritual, formal combat one-on one. Do not have to be to the death, usually to prove who’s the best. Often decides a solution; if A wins, B does what A wants.
A full-scale fight, different than an Ambush in that both sides are aware of the combat. Scale as follows over the adventure:
Battle 1: Grunts: Low level bad guys, probably outnumber PCs
Battle 2: Thugs: Still below PC level but outnumber them
Battle 3: Henchmen of equivalent Skill level, accompanied by thugs.
Battle 4: Henchmen and Villain, backed up by thugs. This probably won’t be the final battle.
The creature guarding the tomb, the horde of demons in the basement etc. Again, grade into a scale of 4 similar to Battles (Frights, Monsters, Horrors and Terrors)
Similar to Battle except one side may be surprised (xref: Surprise rules.) Either PC’s may set ambush (or be given the opportunity) or the opposition may ambush them.
Traps, natural hazards or other physical and mental dangers. Examples are pits, deadfalls, puzzle locks or some sort of magical contrivance.
Some kind of ritual confrontation where one side wins and the other side loses. This could be a wild animal hunt involving two teams of hunters, or an archery contest. Usually for honour or entertainment.
PC’s engage in a small skirmish with the opposition. This may be to test their resolve or defences etc; allowing the Villain to assess who they are up against. If PC’s are winning then opposition withdraw; if PC’s lose the opposition is content to capture them or leave them wounded but alive.
Tells of something to come, a note under the door, a mysterious dream. Warnings are always explicit, unlike Foreshadowing.
Hidden Weakness
A previously unknown fact about the opposition (physical, mental, vulnerability etc.) E.g. Pulan the Scribe hates cats.

PC’s discover the key piece of information that reveals the bulk of the plot. Use when this knowledge won’t affect the outcome in any way.
Advantage Revealed
Discover a previous unknown ability, advantage, tool or weapon that will help them. E.g. the enchanted knife that will hurt Khosatral Khel.
An ambiguous revelation; part of the puzzle is revealed. E.g. recognising that the dancing girl is actually Nafertari.
For some reason the opposition are forced to break off their attack, ambush or other action. Perhaps there has been betrayal in the enemy camp or they have realised that the fight will not serve its original purpose.
Similar to Retreat, but instead they pause or negotiate a temporary truce. Maybe the Villain offers them a position working for him?
Mistaken Identity
One (or more) PC’s is mistaken for someone else. This will always have major implications for the PC involved, e.g. if they are mistaken for the long lost missing Hero then the real Hero’s traditional nemesis may well turn up.
Villains Monologue
The Leader of the opposition is in a talkative mood and has a need to brag about the Master Plan. Used when the PC’s are captured or otherwise in the villain’s control.
Secret Meeting
A Secret Meeting is called, leading to (say) a Clue, Revelation or Alliance Development. The Meeting encompasses setting up, reaching and meeting people at the Meeting. Ambush may be used within the Development.
Personal Stake
PC’s have a personal stake: the quest for the slow poison antidote or to get a curse lifted. The King has the PC’s family ‘as guests.’
Second Chance
*Use Carefully! *
PC’s get a second chance at the problem. Used if they suffered a major setback or the dice rolled badly, e.g. Mara was not killed when the tomb collapsed but was trapped in an air pocket in the rubble and survived until rescued.
Gain Mastery
Allows for preparation of magical ingredients, or training with weapons. Possibly allowing the learning of a necessary skill or language etc. This can take some time.
Gain help from an outside source, NPC’s are available to join PC’s etc.
A trusted ally betrays the PCs. Steals something, sells plans to opposition, helps set up ambush etc.
A device, artefact or vehicle is sabotaged (e.g. boat holed.)
A vague warning of something due to happen, usually issued some time before the event. May come in any number of ways and is invariably cryptic (“beware the ides of March” “Eh?”)
Not What It Seems
An action in a previous Beat is not as originally perceived. Friends turn out to be enemies; something harmful is actually good, etc.
Strange Bedfellows
A common threat suddenly forces the PC’s to ally with the opposition (xref: Conan and Kerim Shah in People of the Black Circle)
A member of the opposition decides to aid or join the PC’s for reasons of his or her own. Often in return for a favour or help (xref: Zenobia)
Romance comes to one or more of the PCs. However, a new lover can come complete with secret alliances to the Player’s personal enemy, jealous suitors, angry parents, vile curses, ulterior motives, etc.
Lie Revealed
Something previously thought to be true turns out to be untrue! Could be a clue, piece of information or something found in a previous Beat. Does not automatically reveal the real truth. (e.g. everyone knew that Pelias the Sorcerer was dead).
Hazardous Quest
PC’s are forced to undertake a journey of hazardous proportions to find something, destroy something or simply to survive. There may be traps, pitfalls or terrible storms to endure. Any encounters will be of a nature unrelated to the opposition (wild animals, insects, etc), although it may start, end or be interrupted with, a Battle or Ambush.
A puzzle is posed that the PCs must solve to move on. Unlike Contest, there is no other side; PCs must simply solve it to escape, enter the stronghold, get the treasure, etc. The puzzle can be an ancient inscription, a cryptic map, a complex locking mechanism or successfully impersonating a guard.
The party, (or a member of the party) is set up for a crime they didn’t commit. The crime is serious enough that simply running away won’t help.
A member of the party is subject to another’s obsession. This could involve love, hate or curiosity and may involve indirect confrontation or risk (e.g. PC’s are hiding from the Watch upstairs in the tavern when in comes ‘Crazy Mary’ looking for Cragg the Cimmerian).
Back From The Dead
*Use carefully! *
An old opponent returns from supposed certain death. (e.g. Khemsha in People of the Black Circle or Xaltotun from The Hour of the Dragon)..
The PC’s must save someone from capture, death or confinement. The important part of the Beat is to give a compelling reason why the rescue is to take place. Tie it in to previous Beats if possible.
One member of the party becomes the target of the opposition’s vengeance. Maybe it’s who they are, or what they are, or something they did. In any conflict, this PC will be singled out.
Final Revelation
The PC’s have uncovered the plot and confronted the villain. There may be threats and intimidation but little, if any, actual violence (as in, combat.)
Xref: the end of A Witch shall be Born
Final Battle
A big battle, throw in everything. Use the mass combat rules and have massive armies meeting on the border. Or have Conan and the Kozaki fighting their way up Yimsha. Pull out all the stops, this is the biggie!
Happy Ending
Villain is defeated or everything is resolved. PC’s reap the rewards and head off to the taverns to spend their loot. (Xref: Rogues in the House)
Villain is Killed
The villain is defeated and killed, possibly publicly. Is there someone to take up his mantle?
Villain Surrenders
Villain is in custody or taken out, but his legacy remains. Will he rise again? (Xref: Khosatral Khel)

Villain Escapes
*Don’t overuse this option*
The villain gets away to fight again another day. He’s got a secret escape route, or it wasn’t really him. In this Beat, the PC’s will not be able to track or capture him.
Heroes Captured
Played if the PC’s really messed up and the villain got the drop on them. Usually means next Adventure starts with Rescue or Daring Escape.
Heroes Escape
Used if the PC’s are losing the Final Battle despite their best efforts and they’ve played well so far. Another force attacks, or a massive sandstorm blows up and stops the battle, or there is Divine Intervention. If they screwed it up, then let them die.
Ending Cliffhanger
With his dying action, Malodrogen smashed the crystal vial on the rock. A faint purple mist floated out of it. “In death, I shall have my revenge” he gasped, gave a convulsive shudder, and was dead.
Greater Threat
Xaltotun is dead (again) but what if someone regains the Heart of Ahriman? What did Pelias do with Tsotha-Lanti’s head? What are Pelias’s motives now he has taken over the Scarlet Citadel?