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DasBoot
25 April 2002, 07:27 PM
Hello, I've been a GM for the last 5 years or so (D6, but I just Preordered the new D20 CRB ) and I was curious how you all come up with adventure Ideas. Personally I sit down for a bit on the weekends and just spew all my ideas onto paper, then I get rid of the junk and try and find a cohesive manner in which to set these things up into a story.

I've got an adventure that I'm starting up soon that I really think is going to knock the socks off of my players, unless of course they ruin the whole thing (as players do from time to time) by doing something completely unexpected.

bentleyml
25 April 2002, 07:46 PM
Well I just start out with a general idea of what I want to happen and let the players run with it. I'm pretty good at coming up with stuff on the fly.

Grimace
25 April 2002, 08:00 PM
Well, if I'm at a total and complete loss for an adventure, I do one of two things. I either flip through one of my many Star Wars roleplaying books, just looking at the various pictures, and start wondering what brought such a picture to occur. This means that when I see a picture of a mess of stormtroopers firing at something, with odd shaped buildings behind them, I begin to think what is happening in the scene. What are the buildings? Why are there stormtroopers there? Who's firing at them, and why? Just these thoughts are usually enough to give me some ideas about adventures. If not, I continue to look at more pictures until some of the questions I ask myself seem to hold enough adventure material for me to work with.

The other thing I do is watch movies and see what I can tweak to go into a game. I'm not talking about the whole plot to a movie, just parts. Was there a point in a movie where the heroes had to acquire something and came up with an inventive way to infiltrate a high security building? Well, maybe I could use that in a portion of my game. I'd either have someone breaking into a place that the players have to protect, and I'd use the tactics in the movie, or someone hires the players to break into a place, and tells them the tactics that HAVE to be used to infiltrate the building.

Those are the general ways I come up with ideas if I'm stumped for anything. Mostly, though, I have ideas kicking around in my noggin' all the time, so I'm not normally at a loss for ideas. I must admit, though, that one time recently when I was stumped, and I used the "picture/question" method, I came up with one of the best campaigns I'd run in a long time. My players really liked it, and I felt I did better for some reason, without having anything pre-determined for the whole campaign.

Hope this helps.

Dr_Worm
25 April 2002, 08:03 PM
Well I usually start with a grand Campaign as a backdrop. This usually comes to me spontaneously, and i am carfeull to make a note of it for future development. Once I have the campaign fleshed out, and an idea of the possible areas that the campaign can go, then make some notes about possible advetures to further some of those goals. From there I begin to flesh out the adventure. To be honest I will decide the setting(s) it will take place in and flesh them out in detail. Then I set the players loose to find clues as I have layed them. I try not to get too fleshed out, because then I just get frustrated when the players shoot my plans to hell. If I plan too linearly then I will surely be screwed as the player take a different rout. By having a spaceport mapped out wiht 20 locations already detailed (even if not all 20 are important) I can let the player roam and fit the adveture to their style of play.

I think the core though is the well thought out and well detailed campaign setting. With that you can improvise and it all seems planned.

My ideas come from books, history, movies, and my own fertile imaimagination.

Talonne Hauk
25 April 2002, 08:51 PM
The first adventure in my campaign was thought out months before it happened. I came up with the idea of trying to show my players just how evil the Empire was. So the first few game sessions were "set up shop" type of small adventures, so the players had their place in the universe. Then the Empire stepped in, and took it all away. After that, it's mainly been chasing plot threads. (You can not have enough dangling plot threads in a RPG, IMHO. ;) ) Also, it helps to have your players present you with a detailed player history. Therein lies a great untapped mine for adventures.

Bombaatu
25 April 2002, 10:48 PM
I have a document on my hard drive called "Scenes to See" - in it I put all the various things that pop into my head. These things are usually prefaced with "Wouldn't be cool if..." - things like "The PCs are running from a squadron of indie fighters when an Imp Interdiction Cruiser shows up - and helps them". I also put ideas about campaign Foozles (i.e. Big Bad Guys) there, along with adventure names (again, things that just sound cool to me, like "Sins of the Mothers", "By Any Other Name" or "The Sands of Time"), McGuffin ideas (items an adventure would revolve around, like a Holocron or a new source of Lightsaber crystals). If I get stuck, I refer back to this document and see if it sparks any ideas.

If all else fails, I ask my players "What is your character doing for the next few days?" - they usually answer based on things that have happened previously, and I can build from there and tie in past adventures.

Ghost In The Holocron
26 April 2002, 12:38 AM
Like Dr Worm I usually also work in a top-down manner. There's a grand campaign backdrop and a general theme. Which then helps generate several arenas of encounter. At that point I stop and take it from the details upwards. I usually start with the villains. I make up a good villain or two and have him move against the players. It helps best if the villains plans are centered around a clear goal. That way it's easier to simply think from the baddie's point of view rather than create a linear plan for the group to follow. Seems more dynamic that way and easier on me as a GM. Same goes for allies and neutrals -- when I've got their motives figured out the tactics and resources they will employ are easier to make up -- even in-game, on the fly, as things move along.

In short -- overall theme first, then arenas of play, then the details and motives for each major non-player character. That way the specifics flow from personalities of the bad guys, allies, and neutrals involved.

When I'm out of ideas I often just hunker down with coffee and my sketch pad and think visually: "ah, cool armor! -- that's just got to be in the game! the player's will eat it up!" -- and things start flowing from there.

DarthMalaryush
26 April 2002, 06:36 AM
I take in alot of diffrent sources. Again, like most, I get most of my favorite ideas just picking pieces out of movies. Titan AE is a great source. It runs like a SW adventure. When I'm dry, I go to the local comic store and just look at covers and wait for something to spark an idea. New foes, armor, weapons, ect. etc... hope this helps.

mrobviousjosh
28 April 2002, 10:05 AM
I try to mainstream most of my adventures towards the campaign and the goals I have in the long run. How do I do that? It's a matter of knowing where you and the players want the game to go. Do the characters want to "take down the Empire" or just make a buck. Motivation plays a large part in it as well. Just like you wouldn't ask a Jedi to assasinate a key political figure, you wouldn't set the characters in a position that made them go "why am I doing this?" Books, T.V., other GM ideas, just whatever gives me inspiration to do adventures. I too get stumped from time to time and I'll playtest just about anyone's ideas to see what works. E-mail me if you want to exchange some ideas and adventures that worked. May the force be with you.

Lord Diggori
30 April 2002, 12:40 AM
I am not a big planner of my adventures by any means. Improvization is a priceless skill. I usually follow this easy "carrot-on-a-stick" procedure:

Campaign: I consider the type of PC's I'm gonna have. As Talonne expressed character backgrounds make great sources. Then I just conjure up the super-arch that expresses what the campaign is gonna be about.
Simple format- " is [blank -B] for the purpose of [blank -C]".
Blank A can be who or whatever you think is cool and Star Wars-ish.
Blank B is a galaxy scale act that's uniquely sci-fi.
Blank C should touch home with most if not all the PCs.
Say the party are mostly jedi padawans: A hyper-advanced long-thought extinct race [-A-] is mutating hapless slaves into killer sub-sentient beasts [-B-] in order to kidnap jedi adept children for their experiments to control the mysterious Force [-C-]. Just like mad-libs ;)

[b]Adventures: Individual stories flow from the one arch easily. Decide how much of the super-arch you want to reveal this session and how long you want to run, say from 2pm to 7-ish.
[2pm] Start out with a hook/carrot that hints to the PC's what's happening or gvies them a problem to resolve and then let them decide how to proceed. Judge and record their actions based on what you would like to see in a SW book, novel, or TV show plot. Boring or predictable action leads no where. Exciting and innovative acts reveal more or minimize risk. Make these first encounters kinda easy.
[5:30] Toss in something that reveals much more than anything else they've done or magnifies the problem they're dealing with, a twist. Make all encounters harder from now on.
[6:55] Reveal something big enough or provide a solution to the problem that will let them relax. Alternatively, leave with a new question for them to ponder or foreshadow the dread to come next session. Exactly what either of these four outcomes are depends on what players did for the past 5 hours.

After the sesion look back over what they did and let that inspire what the next hook will be.

cwandell
30 April 2002, 02:30 AM
i ask my players a few questions get their oppinion of what will/won't happen and then gather a general oppinion and let it go. I try to make a plot were everyone gets what they want. Its just a tactic i use though.