August 1st, 2021

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RPGaDay #1: Scenario

The start of August marks the start of RPG-a-Day, and like with previous years, I’ll be participating!

Day #1: Scenario

I love reading scenarios, and I love designing scenarios, and I even love publishing scenarios! While the rules of an RPG talk about how you do things, a scenario is specifically designed to help you decide what to do.
In my scenarios, I like to set down a situation: something is happening, and the characters can get themselves involved (with the tacit understanding that they would want to get involved: either because of a reward, or because of their goals). There’s locations and people and monsters that are there, and they all have their own problems or impulses. You can interact with them, and affect what happens next.
That is why it is important for me to playtest my scenarios: I am very good at laying down a situation, but I also want to include advice for what happens next, based on the actions of the characters. Not to prescribe, but to describe — the basic information should be enough for the GM to decide what happens next. But some GMs don’t have that much time to really internalize the situations, so if there are some obvious actions that can be taken, I like to include those. Playtesting means I get to expose more players to the same situations, and see how they react. Being able to add that to the scenario makes it better.

Of course I love all my scenarios, but personally I think I like The Forest Shrine best of all my published scenarios. It has travel, it offers the characters the opportunities to make the lives of the villagers they meet a lot better, it has a lot of backstory that is not (immediately) apparent and has the potential of making the players feel like real heroes. All that without having to resort to the colonialist and racist themes that plague Dungeons & Dragons as a game.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.