GenCon 50 – Rescue the Love Boat – Initial Design

The event is entered in the GenCon System. What comes next.

What do I have to start with:

  • Cast of PCs – leveled up versions of last years Return to Gilligan’s Island
  • Overall hook into the adventure (description of the event for GenCon)
  • Overall plot (no and stop asking)
  • Lists of options for the NPCs – Cast of the Love Boat and Fantasy Island

Where do we go from here?

I use three different resources to work through the basics of a scenario:

Design the bad guys. Stating out and putting a backstory together often lead to other parts of the adventure coming together. It’s very possible that they are parts the PCs may never encounter. If I’m the one using a module, I want to know why the big bad is trying to do the evil bad not very good thing in the first place. Describing their motivation lets me know what they’re going to do when all the wheels come off – like when the PC’s show up.

Draw some maps. The simple act of drawing a site for an encounter opens up a ton of options for an adventure. It’s almost the opposite of the previous step. Drawing a map presents the immediate tactical options I can add to the adventure. Things like terrain, obstacles, placement of adversaries, options for extra goodness for the PCs. Drawing maps also reveals the inevitable plot holes. I’ve had to fix numerous locations after realizing they were either inaccessible, or would be visited too soon by a curious bunch of PCs (and there are no other types of PCs).

PC Backgrounds. In this particular case – the PCs come with “mostly” complete backstories. However, they’ve adventured at least once together and I can take the different experiences from the groups that played them before and use that to add more flavor to the characters. There is the relationship between Skipper and his Little Buddy. Perhaps Herman Munster must chose a new character to save. Samantha Stevens may have to make a choice between her history and her friends. All of these things can be used to key parts of the adventure. Even with just between 3-4 hours, it’s important to put a hook in either the PCs background or an encounter (or both) to give everyone a moment to shine.

There are more techniques that I use to create adventures, but these are my big three. Hopefully this can help you create your own.

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