Adventure Writing Worksheet

Taken from Alpha Dawn Expanded Game Rules pages 56-57.

1. Theme

Choose a Theme or basic story and the goal for the adventure
  • What has happened before that led to this adventure? 
  • What must the characters do to complete their job? 
  • What sorts of obstacles will the players face during the adventure? 
Possible themes are exploring new worlds, obtaining information, retrieving a stolen item, catch criminals, rescue someone, mad scientist, and etc.

2. Settings

This includes not just places but animals, robots, guards in those places. What can be learned and or accomplished at each setting?
  • What is the setting’s purpose? When during the adventure will the character’s arrive there? What information are the characters suppose to find there? 
  • What does the setting look like? What are the most important features: where are trees, streams, doors and furniture?
  • What types of creatures, characters and events will the characters meet there? 
  • Are there any important plants or weather conditions, alarms or robots? These are not necessarily challenges to the players. They can be used to identify the area. 
  • Are there any important features about the setting? 
  • Does it limit movement in some way or hide things from sight? 
  • Does it have obstacles the characters must overcome? 

3. Events

Once you have the theme and the settings the adventure should be divided into several smaller challenges that the players must overcome. Each challenge must be placed in a specific setting. Each event should provide an obstacle to overcome, a lesson to be learned or an opportunity to gain something that will aid in reaching a goal. Events should be exciting and provide a puzzle to overcome with wits.
  • Decide what purpose the event will fulfill. Is it an obstacle to fight or overcome? A puzzle to solve? A chance to gain something helpful? Or an event to add excitement? 
  • Determine all the elements needed in the event. Will the player characters encounter NPCs creatures, robots, foul weather, physical obstacles or security systems? 
  • Decide how NPCs, creatures or robots will react to the player characters, and actions they will take. 
Note: Random events should be written when the adventure is written.

Determine order of planned events though this order does not have to be strictly adhered to.

4. NPCs and Creatures

Record all information needed for the NPCs and creatures to be encountered. Determine the purpose of each NPC and creature in the adventure, making sure the purpose fits the adventure. Equip NPCs with what they need.

5. Special Rules

Do any of the events involve special situations not covered by the standard game mechanics? If so write down the special rules to cover those situations. Try to keep the special rules simple and record them for latter use so that you are consistent.

6. Write a Script

Record everything you need to know or share with the players for an event.

  • A description of what the characters can see. 
  • A description of what happens when the characters enter the setting, including NPC and creature reactions. 
  • Ability scores for any NPCs or creatures that will be encountered in the area. 
  • Any special rules for the event. 
  • Random event probabilities. 
  • Notes about what the characters can discover from the event. 
  • Notes on what should happen if the characters succeed, if they fail, or take some other course of action. 

Read your script several times putting yourself in the position of a player trying to move through the adventure. Check to see if challenges are too easy or to hard, try different choices but make sure the events will challenge the PCs.

7. Maps 

  • Guide maps show the area of the adventure in small scale. They don’t show all the details. 1 to 20 km per hex. 
  • Combat maps are for encounters. 2 to 10 m per square.
  • Player’s maps are generally the same as the referee’s map but lacking the referee’s notations about the events.