Behind the scenes: Ideas for adventures.
I have waffled in the past about how I create my adventures in which I mentioned briefly about where my ideas come from. In this waffle I thought I would expand on this and let you into the secret of the where the masterpieces I GM originate from.
Sorry about the featured image – hopefully I won’t get done for false advertising – did it make you click the link? 🙂
Ok, a confession right up front! Yes the majority of my adventures actually come from pre-mades. You have to remember that I work full time, stream on Twitch GM three to four campaigns and have to deal with the normal everyday issues in life. As well as this,(time for some justification) whenever I start a new game system, I like to run pre-made sessions in order to get a complete understanding of the rules. These pre-mades allow me to understand when and what to roll and to engage with all the different aspects of the game. The Starfinder adventure – Into the Unknown (no peeking players!) – is currently providing an insight to different aspects of the game as well as the background of Absalom Station. In a similar way, the Call of Cthulhu starting session provided an important introduction to Victorian London. So although people might like pre-mades, I am actually finding them very useful at the moment since they allow me to get to know the rules while immersing myself and the players in the background of the campaign.
Maps maketh Sessions
I love maps. I am really bad at creating them so rely on commercially produced ones. I often remember being the mapper in the first AD&D adventures we used to play – armed with my square paper and plotting the tunnels and corridors – “the corridor continues for 30 feet and in the next ten foot it turns east..” – those were the days! I often see a good map on Twitter or Pintrest and get inspired to create an adventure around it. I recently saw a map being produced by @2minutetabletop and suddenly the ideas came flooding in from caverns in Mythras through underground tombs in Call of Cthulhu to cave systems in Shadowrun or Starfinder. Sometimes I have to be careful since I can be so obsessed by a map that the link to the adventure can be quite tenuous.
Magpieing from Twitch
Some of you might not be aware of the term ‘magpieing’ (not sure of the spelling!). It is used in education to mean ‘stealing’ other people’s ideas but acknowledging them as good. I spend a lot of time learning and ‘stealing’ from twitch. I’m still developing as a GM and I do enjoy watching how other people DM in order to improve my own skills. As I watch or listen to broadcasts and podcasts I grab any ideas I like and jot them down in Omnifocus (my task manager of choice!). These ideas will either develop into plotlines or locations which I will slip into my existing campaigns. I must admit I rarely say thank you for the ideas so here is a global and heart felt thanks to everyone I watch and steal ideas from!
Being a DM I don’t think you ever switch off. There is a lot of similarities between being a DM and an educator in this respect. My ears and brain are always listening out for ideas. These might come from the television or from eavesdropping into someone else’s conversation. As mentioned before, everything gets logged in Omnifocus and awaits development. Sometimes, I actually hear something and the idea sprouts instantly and quite organically – meaning that I lose the rest of the day within the idea creating the adventure. This are the days I remember fondly and long for…
Sessions vs Campaigns
Just at the end of the this waffle I would like to make reference to my campaigns. Yes, I do use a lot of pre-made adventures, but one think I really love is actually developing the campaign worlds. You can see details of both Metro (Shadowrun) and Odes (Mythras) on this site. I had to resist the urge to make my own Starfinder setting – resorting to the pre-made one from the rule book. The pre-made adventures are always embedded into the existing campaigns so hopefully the players do not realise which adventures are my own creations and which are pre-mades.
I hope that provides you with some insight into where I get my ideas from for my adventures. Are these similar to where you get your ideas or do you have some other secret source that I need to access. As always, feel free to add your comments below and become part of the waffling army! Until next time, please remember to be who you are and say what you feel because the people who mind don’t matter and the people who matter don’t mind. Have fun, and I’ll catch you all later and, until then, consider yourself waffled!