Adventure Writing Advice

jedion357's picture
June 6, 2011 - 9:18pm

To Sum Up and tweek for SF:

Common Mistakes:
1. Too much back Story (get things moving)

2. Too slow Start (get things moving)

3. Random Encounters (Dont be random- get things moving)

4. Too many Encounters (Trim the Fat get moving on to the meat)

Encounter balance
Balance Encounters to have something for everyone in the party (not just combat for fighter types)

Balance Encounters to fit a Theme: coherent look and feel

Link Encounters: the noise of fighting a robot could logically tip off the other guards, failure to jam communications could lead to a world of hurt coming their way, etc.

Encounter Mix (WOTC recommends about 12-13 encounters for a party to level up- this breaks down with the way SF rules work but I'll chart out their 12 encounters none the less as it should give a nice mix for SF adventures).

2 Skill encounters- creatures or obstacles that can be defeated stealth or skill: computer security, electronic alarms and security devices, taking out a robot sentry with 1 well aimed laser rifle shot set to 20 SEU, a "car" chase encounter etc.

4 pure combat encounters- no negotiations just fight

2 tech challenges that cater to the technitians (magical challenges)

1 Biosocial challenge that caters to the egg head in the group (divine challenge) Usually this will take the form or a medical challenge that is not patching up the wounded fighters.

1 puzzle or trap

2 Role play encounters

1 mook encounter - large numbers of under powered adversaries the PCs get to open up some serious wup arse on

1 plodder (see the link above for the historic meaning of plodder) basically an area that lets the PCs heal up and or level up and rest

1 bigger fish- 1 overwhelming encounter with serious risk of Total Party kill, something that would be better handled without fighting

A Big Finish: A final encounter with trimmings: villians, mooks, terrain

EDIT: Whats not here since the above is an adaption of D&D material is Knight Hawks encounters
Sure some of the combat encounters can be KH encounters, a chase can also be a KHs action as well as the bigger fish encounter. Unless the whole theme was centered around KHs I probably would not make the Big Finish a KHs encounter. Skill encounters can still happen on board ship but they still boil down to AD style action if you think about it.

An entire adventure could be AD action or it could be a mix of AD with KHs with weight resting on AD style action (60/40 or 75/25)
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
June 6, 2011 - 9:28pm
Follow up link:
Fast Adventure Writing Structure

Some tips:

The following seems bare bones to me and not in a good way

More advice from wizards:
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
June 7, 2011 - 9:50am
Need inspiration? Click here for random wikipedia article.

thespiritcoyote's picture
June 8, 2011 - 7:43pm
  Backstory: Having played in too many games that sat somewhere between not enough and none, in backstory, I have problems seeing this as a common mistake...
  Too Slow: Having been placed in too many nose-drags and linear plots, I find 'get things moving' is often interpreted as 'keep 'em on rails'... the other common interpretation seems to be 'Give 'em no rest', I would caution to be wary that these don't become the interpreted methods of speeding things up...
  Random Encounters: Yes... having sat through too many random encounter marathons, this one I say should be given consideration... randomness can be fun, for the players and add some unpredictability for the enjoyment of the GM, but don't use these as a crutch in place of good planning, or an attack of attrition on the players...
  Planned Encounters: Having seen too many of the Random Encounters and not enough versatility in the Planned Encounters, I can kinda agree but clarify that if you have a plot in mind, and it must be linear, at least give these Planned Events some time and thought... and if at all possible Plan Alternate Encounters... and make ready alternate events and endings...

  It is rather unfortunate that for gaming the Fantasy Genre gets the support and the Sci-fi Genre has to make do with what can be scavenged... Ironic that in literary works it has been the opposite for nearly 200years... The two can cross over with some things, but pacing and realism are factors that the genres diverge on drastically... even in the Space Opera and Action Sci-Fi sub-genres it can be noticeable...
Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?