How much information do you really need to run an adventure?
I love using published adventures but one of the things that frustrates me about them is the amount of prep that I need to do when I'm getting ready to run a game.
Most of the time, it's about the same amount of prep as if I were writing my own adventure from scratch. When I'm prepping a pre written adventure, I have to read through the entire adventure at least once and take notes. I usually use three by five note cards or print out the adventure and write notes out on it or highlight certain parts that I want to make sure I touch on and make stuff a lot more readable and easy to find. Well, I'm at the table.
Of course, reading the adventure, there's probably a certain amount of information that is gleaned and therefore, saved in my subconscious so that when I get to the table, I probably remember a whole lot more. But when I'm writing my own adventures, to save time and prep, I just write down the notes and highlights, you know, short tags or descriptions, really just the information that's needed. For each encounter. I don't write out the monsters hit dice, I write down their hit points. And more recently, I've adopted the convention of just noting the attack damage. I just use the average I don't write that a monster does. One D six points of damage with a sword, I use the average hit points of damage and say one attack does three hit points of damage. And basically that's what it does every time it hits. Why aren't published adventures written more like this? You could Front Load the adventure with all of the needed background information and introduction information, the player start information. But when it comes to the actual adventure, why don't we just have the necessary information. If you need more, you can always go to a monster manual or even put a beast Yari in the back of the adventure that could be used for reference, but for the most part, there's a limited amount of information that you need for running the game at the table.
A number of years ago, I picked up the servants of the sender Queen, a dungeon World Adventure by Jason Lutes. It was written to be more like a traditional d&d adventure, as opposed to the more usual dungeon world adventures where they're more of a free form, type of adventure that you make up as you go. I will say there are a lot of transferable skills from dungeon world that totally make games run better. And it's definitely on my list of the must read GM books. Even if you never play dungeon world, it's worth a read.
|Available on DriveThruRPG|
|Tomb of Xenophon Micro-Dungeon Adventure in 3 Flavors|
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Click here to find my Micro-Dungeon Adventure, The Tomb of Xenophon on DriveThruRPG.