Like any other form of fiction, a tabletop roleplaying adventure works best when there’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. Player characters can pursue a goal without being railroaded into one specific way of achieving it. That same goal prevents characters from wandering aimlessly through an open-ended setting. A balance of styles will respect the players’ creativity and choices, while reducing some of the burden placed on the gamemaster. There’s a satisfying amount of closure, because achieving the goal means that the adventure has come to an end with the characters “winning”.
Building Adventures is about finding that balance. There is a way to create tabletop roleplaying scenarios that don’t require a harried, over-scheduled gamemaster to be ready for every possibility. These can still allowing players to make their own choices, and solve problems in their own way.
This book is system-agnostic, meaning is was not written for one specific tabletop roleplaying game. It’s not exclusively for Dungeons & Dragons, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mutants & Masterminds, Shadowrun, Stars Without Number, or any other particular genre, setting or rules set. The examples are generic and high-level, allowing you to adapt and apply them to the system of your choice. It’s recommended that you read through the entire book at least once to get a sense of the contents, the flow of things, and the context for various ideas. You can then go back to individual sections as needed.
For easy reference this book is broken into eight sections:
Introduction – This is where you are now. A brief overview of what this book is about, the concepts that will be discussed, and ways that you can put it to use in building adventures for your favorite tabletop roleplaying game.
Adventure Format – The standard “stat block” for all books in the Building series, this will help you to track elements regardless of the system you’re using. This chapter covers the five components: Name, Description, Purpose, Modifiers, and Story Points.
Preparation – This chapter covers key areas for developing the basic elements necessary to run a tabletop roleplaying adventure. These include high-level information for the stat block: Adventure Description, Clarifying the Purpose, Determining Modifiers, and Blocking Out Story Points.
Act I: Beginnings – This chapter covers developing the elements necessary for the first act of a tabletop roleplaying adventure. The emphasis is on four parts of the stat block: Describing Act I, Establishing the Purpose, Introducing Modifiers, and Opening Story Points.
Act II: Middles – This chapter covers developing the elements necessary for the second act of a tabletop roleplaying adventure. The emphasis is on four parts of the stat block: Describing Act II, Exploring the Purpose, Leveraging Modifiers, and Expanding Story Points.
Act III: Endings – This chapter covers developing the elements necessary for the third act of a tabletop roleplaying adventure. The emphasis is on four parts of the stat block: Describing Act III, Fulfilling the Purpose, Mastering Modifiers, and Concluding Story Points.
Epilogue – This chapter covers addressing what happens after a tabletop roleplaying adventure is over. The emphasis is on four parts of the stat block: Describing the Epilogue, Reviewing the Purpose, Resetting Modifiers, and Tying Up Loose Story Points.
Campaign Elements – An ongoing, interconnected series of tabletop roleplaying adventures is called a campaign. This chapter covers five areas for developing campaign elements: Campaign Preparation, Phase I: Introductions, Phase II: Explorations, Phase III: Conclusions, and Campaign Epilogue.