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18 Adventure Archetypes

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In The Adventure Creation Handbook, I talk about using adventure archetypes as a way to help you develop plot details. Below are 18 adventure archetypes, along with the plot elements each one generally needs to be successful.



Babysitting Someone or something to watch over, someone trying to capture what’s being baby sat, a map of the “sitee’s” location
Escort Thing or person to escort, place to escort them from, place to escort them to, map of route, something or someone trying to prevent them from getting there.
Raid Place to raid, item(s) to obtain in raid, guards, map of location, defensive measures/traps.
Kidnapping Someone to kidnap, guards, traps, and other defensive measures to prevent kidnapping, reason for kidnapping the victim, Location to bring victim to once kidnapped.
Exploration Unknown area to explore, random encounter tables, perhaps reason for exploring
Rescue Someone to rescue, a place to rescue them from, defensive measures to prevent rescue, reason why rescuee was taken
Robbery Place to rob, item to obtain (can be specific item or general type of item, such as “valuable”), defensive measures to prevent theft.
Bounty Hunt Person(s) to hunt, bounty reward, person or organization that wants huntee found
Breakout/Escape Jail, defenses to prevent escape, person to break out (if not the PCs themselves), reason why prisonner(s) is/are being held, locations of other prisoners, location of target in prison.
Assassination Person to assassinate, location of victim, person who wants assassination done, reason for assassination
Hijacking Vehicle(s) to be hijacked, driver(s) and passengers of vehicles, person who wants the hijacking done, reason for hijacking, hijacker’s demands, location to take vehicle(s) to.
Bug Hunt Critter to hunt, reward for successful hunt, location of critter, any defenses critter may have built
Smuggling Item or person to smuggle, authorities looking for same, authority checkpoints and personnel to carry out inspections, vehicle to smuggle with, location to take cargo to.
Salvage Wreck in hard-to-reach location, map where wreck is located, treasure to salvage, possibly rumors of treasure’s existence, possibly other group(s) also trying to salvage treasure.
Scam Marks (people to scam), a plan, possibly assistants
Spying Information to gain, plan to get same, people/location to get it from, people who want the information
Tournament Events to compete, other competitors, location of tournament, reward(s) for winners
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