Advice, Creating my First Adventure

If your reading this, thank you.

I'm an experiance game master, but, I've always ran published adventures, and I've considered myself pretty good at running published adventures because I put in a lot of prep work smoothing the edges and finding little gems that can added to create additional flavor and excitement for the players. But, I've never created an adventure, and I've found that Numenera really fosters that ability to loosely plan and improv the daylights. So I was wondering, what is a good way to gather my thoughts for an adventure besides the obvious, "Write it down". Is there a certain way to organize information for an RPG adventure, or is there any really good resources that I could read on the subject?

Below is some ideas for my first adventure.

I was going to run "The Nightmare Switch" for my party. But then I saw a map that sparked my imagination.

The map was labelled as "Sociological Research Dome". Immediately I was drawn to an idea of having the characters play out a couple adventures in a pure fantasy setting, where the weird would slowly creep in.

I wanted the party to start out as members of the same tribe. The first adventure could be of them hunting big game to provide food for the rest of the tribe, and I was thinking of having a very emotional act two where their tribe is attacked by another tribe and many of their family is killed, and most of their own tribe is lost and they go on a path of revenge and bloodlust.

All the while, I want one player to begin to hear a females voice inside their head periodically during all of these adventures. This would be a direct parallel to the Matrix when Trinity and Morphues were originally contacting Neo to tell them their secret. This voice would eventually provide the tools and show the player how to damage the energy source of the Dome, thus shutting down the the holographic images and exposing the truth to the players, that they are inside a massive dome. This is also when the players discover that all of the NPC's are actually robots playing a role to elicit and simulate human interaction.

Next up the players would enter the control area to either find their captors or escape. I really haven't thought this part out other than I want the captors to be aliens just as the kind we all shaw on the X-FIles, yes dammit, I just said the X-Files, an amazing show that I loved as a teenager, and I want to incorporate a storyline about trying to gather evidence and expose extraterrestrial life on future earth. I even want to go so far as to integrate the idea of Monster of the Week Episodes and the Core Storyline. Except I want to do Adventure of the Week instead, and then have Core Storyline Adventures that support the over arching campaign. I guess I'm saying I'm comparing one shot adventures to Monster of the Week Episiodes of the X-FIles.

Last thing kind people. I've done a ton of prep work for "The Nightmare Switch", but I'm not sure how to transition smoothly from my first created "Scoiological Dome" adventure into Nightmare Switch, any suggestions?

Also I would like to meet some people from here who enjoy creating stuff for RPGs, I don't have any people to bounce ideas off of and get opinions where I live in Iowa, and I would love to read, listen to other peoples ideas and give them feedback, I truly get excited about this kind of stuff.


  • I just joined the forum so I just came across your post mdoverl. I don't know what you have done since you posted so I'm not sure how to respond. I find that figuring out the end point of the story you want to tell, is one of the most important parts of the campaign design process. The major points they need to find or experience to get them to that goal are the adventures you send them on.

    The first thing you said you said was you wanted a couple of adventures to feed the tribe. That is a good "day that was different" start. So have the first critter fine, and even the second. But what about a GM Intrusion that brings in a third 'glitchy' critter. They still kill it but for some reason after the first hit, the computer has decided that it goes from the 'live' attacking state to a 'dead' state and none of the NPCs in the hunting party notice the difference. That would start the PCs wondering what's going on and make them want to go out and investigate/discover.

    I love bouncing ideas, I'll help any way that I can if you still want a sounding board.
  • Here’s an overview of how I put together adventures and campaign areas, plus an example of how it all works.
    Firstly though; I am a big fan of the d6 as a random generator when you can’t decide yourself: -
    Roll 1-3 = Very likely 4-5 = Likely 6 = Unlikely
    Roll 1-3 = Yes 4-5 = No
    D6 tables are easy to come up with where sometimes it’s a struggle to fill a bigger range

    I also use Mythic GME and Rory’s Story Cubes as needed.

    Ok, let’s get started.

    I want to set a series of linked adventures around an aldeia in the Steadfast.
    Q (Question): Is it linked to a PC? Roll 2 = Yes. Who? Roll randomly; it’s Judson Deathdancer (my son Ben).
    Judson has a brother who is a blacksmith; the logical conclusion is that he is the village smith.

    a) Get a sheet of paper and draw a circle in the centre. That’s the aldeia. Label it [A]
    b) Draw three more circles around [A], at 10:00, 14:00 and 18:00. Label these 1-3 [B], 4-5 [C] and 6 [D]. Draw a line connecting these to [A].
    c) Where is Judson’s brother? Roll of 5 puts him at [C]

    What’s going on? – Use Mythic; get [Usurp – Success]. The aldeia is a stopping point for merchants and travellers on the way to (wherever) and so is relatively rich. A band of raiders has moved into the area and is systematically raiding the village. They minimise casualties amongst themselves and the villagers; after all, why kill the Golden Goose?

    d) Put the Raiders at [B] – they are the most likely
    e) Area [D] – Drew up a quick d6 table; rolled and got RUIN, (other possibilities were creature, NPC, More raiders etc.).
    Ruin – I wrote up an area called a Pillar of Opposition some time back. Let’s put that in. If the real PC wins then the entrance to an underground / Other Dimension opens. I’ll worry about this later.

    OK, back to the aldeia. It needs a name. Where I live (in the Black Country), a lot of place names end in ‘-ley’ (Romsley, Cradley, Dudley; from Old Saxon meaning ‘clearing’). Another Saxon word is ‘-ton’, meaning hill.

    The aldeia is called Hawton (because I’m listening to a Hawkwind album as I write this.)

    Summary so far;-

    There is a large aldeia called Hawton that is being systemically raided for its wealth. The raiders take what they want but minimise casualties. A PC’s relative lives near here. There is a mysterious ruin some distance away.

    Comments, anyone?
  • That's great for an opening but what about further on? Where does the story go from there? How do you get the PC(s) involved? An emotional investment is always a great hook, so long as the player actually has an emotional connection to the NPC or the place in the hook. But, getting them involved without that attachment is the real trick.

    The emotional hook: The Blacksmith, Deathdancer's brother, is killed by the raiders. They have fled and are now holed up in the nearby ruins...

    The unemotional hook: The ruins are rumored to hold Numenera and no one has been able to penetrate the door yet. The raiders have been systematically attacking the town because the code to enter the ruins are said to be in the town and they are looking for it. The brother, Blacksmith Deathdancer, reached out to he PC to help the bandits to stop the raiding...

    Either option is good but they are still just openings to a bigger story. mdoverl asked about a campaign set up not just a single adventure. I have to say we both gave him an opening adventure.

    So ask yourself about the reasoning behind the raids. The Bandit leader, is he in need of something in the ruins for personal reasons? What are those reasons? Is he getting increasingly violent due to something he found in the ruins? Why is he raiding? Is he collecting the money and wealth to fund a deposed leader? Is he the deposed leader looking to regain his wealth to take his kingdom/barony/lands back? Is he conducting the raids under duress, which is why the raids have had so little casualties so far? Once the bandits get what they want what do they do with it? The badguy's motivations and the PC(s) opposition to, or agreement with that motivation can drive the campaign forward.

    I am currently using visitants as a stand in for Nazi's and there leader is interested in opening a portal to the home planet so that they (the aliens) can colonize/take over. The PCs having seen what the aliens are capable of to the general country and on a personal level, and are now attempting to stop them. But, they (the PCs) have to find them first. I'm using the motivations of the PCs, the emotional involvement of the players, and my Bigbadguys motivations to run the story forward.

    mdoverl - I suggest that you look to the creators of the simulation/environmental dome to see if there is a sufficient motivation that the PCs can oppose or eventually help with and decide how your PCs discover that information.
  • Sorry, I was fooled by the title saying "Advice, Creating my First Adventure"
  • Hey, I could be wrong too. It's not like we're getting any feedback from mdoverl. Their post was in November and we didn't start commenting until near the end of December. They probably abandoned the thread since it took so long for a reply. I apologize if I made you angry, Jester.
  • You didn't make me angry! Sorry if I implied that you did. It was meant to be a wry comment
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