Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Off-the-Cuff Adventures

My first efforts as a DM were with published D&D adventures: D1–3, Descent Into the Depths of the Earth, Shrine of the Kuo-Toa, and Vault of the Drow. We bombed through the series in two marathon sessions.

Those adventures produced great moments and great memories. I still shudder, however, when I think about some of my rookie DM mistakes.

Most of my errors came from a lack of preparation. I made the mistake of believing that because I had page after page of professionally produced adventure material, my work was already done. I’d read the adventures beforehand, but not in great detail. I had the gist of it and assumed the rest would flow naturally from quick checks on the fine points during play. I was wrong. Two problems came up repeatedly.

(Read the rest at Kobold Quarterly ...)


  1. When I first started DMing, all my adventures were pretty much off the top of my head.
    I would get a theme in my head, then dream up a cool location or two, and populated everything with monsters I thought were cool. I'd let all this stew in my head between games. When it came time to roll the dice, I would just riff on the ideas I had swirling around in my head and play off what my players were doing.

    It made for some fun and memorable games.

    1. Another great read Steve. It seems to me that it's a good argument for written adventures providing a basic framework with some advice and hints for the DM to work off of. Too much detail in a game module is overwhelming, but having a basic reference to work from can give a good DM a more solid platform for improvisation than simply making it all up as you go along. I guess I'm saying there's a middle ground that a good adventure writer should strive for.

    2. I've been thinking for years about better ways to organize adventures. Maybe it's time to put some of it into writing. I'll add that to the topic list and push it near the top. Thanks for the nudge.