Creating an Adventure some questions on your approach


Hello all, I am at the point where thanks to amny of you and some practice roll outs, I understand the rules well enough to run a campaign. Now I know we can delve into many areas for inspiration of which I have multiple ideas.

My questions are more surrounding your approach in creating the adventure. Do you typically have a route that you know you want the players to follow and do anything possible to make them follow that route?

Or do you have a plan and then have backups based on what they say? In regular D&D like my game last night too often that stuff seems unplanned and throws you out of the adventure.

Basically I was wondering do you have NPC's that kind of force the issue and are always there to cover your back if the party goes astray or do you have a bunch of contingency plans in your hip pocket that you can pull at any time? If it is the latter, what is some of the stuff you guys keep ready at all times during an adventure.

This is what I don't care much for and is what happened in our game last night, Basically our party was getting dessimated by a Chaos Beast Dragon and magically we kept getting brought back to life, by some other worldly dragon. I would rather die fighting or have a contingency plan presented when things seem hopeless. I can see if I prayed to a God or something and he sent aid once, but my Paladin died twice and was brought back conveniently.

Thanks for reading and any thoughts on your approach would be great, ofcourse I'd like to keep it as non linear as possible ,but I certainly want to have detailed descriptions prepared for different environments and NPC's that are encountered. Trying to find the happy medium.

Whether it is DnD or Conan, I never use NPC's as deus ex machinas. The players live and die by their own designs.

My style of play is not wholly planned out nor is it wholly spontaneous. My style is more extemporaneous. Basically, I know the NPC's, the plot, and what their motivations are. From there, I make it up as I go along. I don't read boxed text. If I use a module, I memorise the NPC's and their motivations and plans, and run it from my head.

That way I can react to anything the PC's do or do not do, and move forward with the NPC's plans - which means sometimes the NPC's have stunning victories that the PC's may never know about. I also read a lot and can always introduce a new plot on a moment's notice based on stories and novels (there are only 36 possible plots in the world according to some scholars).

I have more NPC's and plots than I can ever use in a thousand years of campaigns, so that is not hard for me.

I don't force players to do things. I don't use NPC's to save the players. If there are NPC's out there powerful enough to rescue the PC's, then those NPC's should be saving the world, not the players.

All I do is introduce the NPC's and put their plots into motion. If the players go elsewhere, then I introduce other NPCs and plots have them all going at once. If you know your players, then finding a hook that excites them is easy. Throw in the hook, the NPC's and go with it from there. That is my style. I don't plan encounters; I don't channel my players. I have the NPC's react appropriately to the PC's actions... and a PC's actions are hard to predict, I have found. So I don't plan it out ahead. I just get to know the NPC well enough that he can react realistically.
Vincent, Thanks for your reply and nice artwork. I am an artist myself and can appreciate that.

Well, my objective is just as you mentioned, I don't want things to feel contrived ,but want to bea able to give nice descriptions on things a t a moments notice. Perhaps a good idea for me would be to create various NPC's of different motives and backgrounds , different encounter types and environments and have nice descriptions that I either have memorized or can look at small card or some kind of cheat sheet until I am at your comfort level.

In addition I love the examples of combat descriptions in the book and was wondering if anyone had some of their own they'd like to post.

Thanks again
Having the players give input into what motivates their characters, greed, and vengance are good ones for this game, to help me construct a adventure more talored to their wants. Trying to get players to roleplay caring about something their characters wouldn't is a real bore. For me and them.

I usually have players make up thier characters before I sit down to think up a scenario or give them parameters for character generation if I already have something in mind.

As far as having everything already thought out the answer is no. This would be boring to me. Sort of like reading a story you wrote yourself. A framework and general idea of where they will be and who they will be encountering as prep work makes running the game easier especially with names. Coming up with cool unique names on the fly is one of my weak spots. I do enjoy watching what the players come up with and being challenged to adapt as we go.