Friday, January 27, 2017

adventure design, lesson (-1)

How the fuck do I write an adventure?

Inspirado, it begins with Inspirado. If you don’t understand that, go watch the short lived Tenacious D show. Or just, like, guess and you’re probably there.
An image, a conversation, a hallucination, a song, a fucking Wikipedia article… the idea grabs hold and won’t let go.

Smile with Us, Friend…’s development as fucking example I guess.

Once, during a game, with an aelf in it, I improvised the idea of a spider with a human mouth.
The idea stuck, I even made a terrible picture for it:  

So yah. I drew up a fucking map that looked sort-of spidery and then lost touch with it for like a year. 

(When writing dungeons as opposed wildernesses or lairs, I am much more likely to just drop the whole fucking  for a while.)

The image held, though. It refined. It simmered in the wretched stew of my damaged brain.

Anyways, because I was writing every damn day at the time, I got the idea to write up a bunch of cultists. I wanted to highlight the type of personalities that might worship an angry chaos spider.

Then I drew some pictures that did not totally suck. (Okay. So maybe I drew a bunch of pictures that did suck before I got there.)

Then it all fell together.

But not really, I spent a long time trying to imagine actually using my creepy but not that powerful spiders folks at the table.

After a bunch of thought, I tested it out at the table. The ideas worked ok.

So… I like fiddled with a shitload of fiddly bits and then released the fucking thing.

Anyway, now I write DnD shit so often, I’ve actually noticed a mild methodology (beyond smoking out) in my process.

Mind you I am still devoted to chaos and the Heat Death of the Universe, buuuut my stupid human brain develops habits.

(I kinda think these habits are unuseful to like anybody else, but I’ve already typed this fucking much so…)

  1. I start with the fiction. The images. Poetry. Inspirado.
  2. Then I do waaaaay too much research because I like brain learnings.
  3. Eventually a way to mechanize the weird/sad ideas comes to mind.
  4. Then figure out how to present that shiz...


Mechanizing method:  Ummm, basically I’ve just been playing D&D for like almost 2 decades…
But, I did get some useful advice from somebody, Paolo maybe, one time:
{{[paraphrased from an unreliable memory] Figure how often you want the thing to happen. Figure out the dice that makes it happen that often.}}

I mean it’s hardly that simple, but also it kinda is… I mean you will fail.

You will fail, frequently… but it’s a game you’re playing with friends so it probably won’t totally suck.

So ya, play the game, hold onto the images that terrify and entice you, and understand that we will all be dead pretty soon.

That’s how I does it.