Wednesday, June 26, 2013

4e Adventure Structure

My notebooks are in my office and my office is in the attic and the attic is a blazing inferno in this heat. I guess I could bring the notebooks down but I just don't feel like it. Instead I'm gonna play with adventure structure some more.

I never got into 4th edition D&D very much early on and it may have been all for the better. As I've begin turning my attention back to it I've discovered that WoTC didn't really get their crap together until the very end. This went for both balance and adventure writing. The few old 4e adventures that I had seen were pretty rail-roady. I'm not really surprised either - after reading the three core books my ideal of a proper 4e adventure was a total railroad with a few forks that resulted from skill challenges. It's something of a surprise and a shame since the 4e DMG was possibly the best written in terms of "this is how you run a game" that I've ever seen.

Anyways, adventure structure. The "new" adventures like The Slaying Stone and Madness and Gardmore Abbey were more like mini-sandboxes. You've got some objectives, you've got a location with a number of encounter sites and various factions to tie it all together and make it move. The "adventure" was a separate entity from the "encounters". Looking back on some of the things I've posted I can see a number of applications for this structure.

One of the most obvious is In the Name of the Empire. During the heroic tier each region would essentially be an adventure site full of encounters with each of the various factions providing quests and objectives.
Illen Shore, along with any number of "small town surrounded by adventure sites" settings that may be to come are also obvious choices. In many ways they are simply my own older versions of the Nentir Vale. The old monastery for the Followers of the Wind is probably the most blatant of the adventure locations.

Finally the Post-Apocalyptic Thing is almost explicitly designed with this in mind. The whole region is an adventure site where the PCs can wander around from place to place while unlocking new places to explore as the adventure advances. If I were to try and write something out that wasn't as ambitious as In the Name of the Empire I'd probably go with this.

So if I can't get to my notebooks next time I try to update look for an attempt to use this adventure structure on a previous setting.

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