Adventure Prep, Session 2

I’m still shocked that people other than my close friends actually read this and even more shocked to have been mentioned by other DM bloggers. (I’m not going to Ego it up by linking to their post, but these guys have gotten added to my DM Blogroll).

Oh and this is not a Meta-Blogging post because it’s considered bad form by some. πŸ™‚

Yesterday evening was spent doing the actual Adventure Preparation for Friday night’s game, our campaign’s second session. As you may recall, last game did not go all that well.

Now it kills me that I can’t give you the details as some of my players actually read this (I have an idea on this, wait to hear about this in a future posts). However, I can still outline my thought process and leave out important stuff.

After the last game, I started a discussion with my players on our Common Game page where I suggested that they go after the last game’s bad guys for some serious Buttkicking. They accepted.

Aside: Yup these are classic railroads you see here, I use them occasionally and usually with my player’s consent. However, these were Out Of Game railroads. I proposed something and the players agreed. Had they said no, I would have been ready with the next part of the campaign.

Earlier this week I drafted my 1st adventure plan in my DM Wiki.

Other Aside: I’m sorry I can’t post the Wiki, its a walking Copyright Infringement. If you are curious about using Wikis for adventure planning or as a group page have a look here for our last campaign player Wiki. (More on this later, I have a project brewing for this here blog)

The 1st draft of the plan looked like this:

  • At the Elven Stronghold of Ptolus, have a scene where PCs and their new allies learn of the whereabouts (a Ratmen’s Nest) of the escaped fiends and plan an assault, gearing up. Allow players to rebuild characters to better face Fiends.
  • Setup Sewer encounter with remaining Fiends and a few mooks.

Now, I wanted to add a little more flavor to the adventure, have the players meet common denizens of the Ptolus Sewers without having it feel like a Random Encounter (I don’t use those unless I have to). So I added a new scene between the 1st and 2nd one:

  • On their way to the Fiend’s hideout, the PCs will meet a group of [Non-Hostile Sewer Denizen] who happen to have [Useful Object] that would help them in their quest. Obtaining said object should not be through fighting this group.

Then I started thinking that I should give my players an encounter to allow them to truly test out thier abilities and let them shine. An encounter with no bosses, plenty of combat space and a lot of crunchy mook. So I got me another scene.

  • Further down the ‘path’ the PCs meets a group of [Quasi-generic Mooks] who have in their possession [Potential Plot Hook]. Fighting is expected.

Pondering on the different faces of Evil, I thought this scene would be a nice occasion to test my DM challenge of making believable evil characters. So I added a few traits to these guys to make them memorable.

I was ready to start writing. Just as soon as I finished a Magic The Gathering Online (MTGO) Draft on the Beta (Procrastination, how I love thee!).

Then I found the Rule of Cool and thought to myself ‘I have an okay adventure here… it needs some more awesome’.

So last night, after getting killed in round one of a MTGO Draft, I went back to my 4 scenes plan and looked where I could cool it up for my players.

  • Scene 1: Give my Brilliant Planner players toys to plan the assault. I gave them a CR8 equivalent treasure of Divine magical items to plan their assault. (They know about this already)
  • Scene 2: Put [Non-Hostile Sewer Denizens] in huge trouble, so big that only the PCs can help. If they want to, of course. Put said source of trouble in a weird place complete with color maps. Use never seen before creatures. Give names to NPCs. Give choices to players. Bring in less-used skills that some players have invested in. Give them possibility to become heroes in eyes of NPCs to awesome up my players who thrive on being super cool.
  • Scene 3: Make [Potential plot Hook] a part of Ptolus’ flavor and a Roleplaying/story element for future adventures. Give players a hard choice to make as a group that will affect their reputation in the City (to make my storytellers happy). Use another colorful map.
  • Scene 4: Switch Big Bad Boss for a newer somewhat weaker Yugoloth found in the last Dungeon Mag (If the scene is cool enough, the players should not mind). Use the best color map I have and exploits its features. Allow opportunity to assault the hideout in different ways to reward planning. Add satisfying loot and a follow up plot-hook for the future adventures against the Yugoloth. Finally, plan an escape route for the possibility of a recurring villain.

That’s what I wrote last night. Took me about 3 hours (Stats, loot, DC checks). But boy am I looking forward to that game.

As for my players, well reading this should give y’all plenty of hints.



  1. Well you did sent us the link to your blog… πŸ˜‰ I don’t know if the other read it but I certainly do. I’m glad though to have an insight on how you prepare your scenes.

    Can’t wait for friday to open the proverbial can of wupass vengence on those Yuggoloth!

  2. I assume that some of you read it. And the hints I drop are meant as ‘Bonus behind the Scene Material’ for those who make the effort to read it. (It sure beats nagging you guys by email).

    Cya tommorow mate! (Or in like 5 seconds on Gtalk).

  3. The Chatty DM says:

    My fellow player told me that he felt it was a recent change in my gaming style. And it makes for better games.

    The Rule of Cool gave me a Zen insight into the philosophy I wanted to have as a DM. I can get pretty anal about details and congruity in my games. The Trope basically sets me straight. Focus on fun, focus on the players, let them build your world. Fridge Logic rules (look it up on TVTrope)!

    As for planning, yeah well I’m like that. I derive a lot of pleasure in preping a game. I don’t do improv all that well. But I’m working on it.

    One of my best sessions ever was made with 3 D&D minis (and stat cards) a map from dungeon mag and one concept: Your world is a Prison! No notes whatsoever. I know I can do it, but that preping safety net sure is conforting!

    As for the Wiki. That’s one of my projects for the Blog, making a DM wiki model that’s lighter on the Copyright but showcases how to use it as a design tool.

    Rock on man!

  4. I like how you took a basic notion and awesomed it up to let your players be badasses. Good job! Even the mundane has room for crazy awesome stuff. Trick is not to overdo it, and that CAN be tricky — knowing when to just speed things up and when to turn a shopping trick (or something) into a big production.

    Sounds like you’re doin’ OK so far. Do you, as a GM, feel any different now that you’re absorbing the Rule of Cool?

    (ASIDE: Man, you do waaaaaaaay more planning than I do. Mind, that’s not a criticism in any way. You do what you gotta do so it works out for you. But that Wiki sounds reeeeeeally tasty…)