Okay, now what? Has this happened to you: you’ve seen something that looks intriguing in a list of adventure ideas (often called “adventure seeds”), you’d love to use in your game, but you have no idea how to actually build an adventure from it? If so, you’re not alone.
The biggest trouble many GMs have is “What comes next?” Okay, you’ve got the start of an adventure, but what happens from there? How much information do you need to create before you present your idea to your players? That depends on your players.
You could take the seed and present it to your group as is. If you’ve got a really imaginative group, they’ll take it from there, coming up with a plot that you could never have thought of in your wildest dreams and having the time of their lives doing it. I’ve been lucky enough two have had not one, but two groups that were like this. All I had to do was drop an idea and they’d pick it up and run with it.
The upside of doing this is that you don’t have to do a lot of preparation and the players will take care of the “what comes next” problem all by themselves. The big down side is that you have to think fast on your feet, because you’re going to have make up NPCs, locations, and rewards (just to name a few things) on the spot. And you have to keep track of what you’ve told your PCs so the adventure stays internally consistent(Though I must admit, my groups know I run by the “seat of my pants” a lot of times and are willing to forgive my inconsistencies. If you have a group like this, treasure them, for they’re golden.)
So what do you do if you’re not the kind of GM who can create an eight-hour adventure out of (metaphorically speaking) chewing gum, a pocketknife, and a few leftover pizza crusts? There’s actually a process you can use to create an adventure from the simplest idea. Over the next several posts, I’ll detail each step along the way and illustrate it with several examples.