We’re back with a new episode, and this one is all about how we write scenarios. Us being us, we come to nothing resembling a consensus. This is probably a good thing, as it offers three different perspectives. More importantly, you can hear us bicker, which is what the show is really about.

No! You research it all before writing the plot!

No! You research before writing the plot!

The discussion wends around finding inspiration, research, preparing notes, different types of scenarios and writing up your work for publication, should you want to enter the highly lucrative world of RPG writing.


RPG writer praying for royalty cheque

Oh, and when you hear the reference to Paul’s flamethrower, this is what we’re talking about.

No, we didn't make this up

The fiery agent of our inevitable destruction

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

10 comments on “How We Write Scenarios

  1. Steve Dempsey Jan 26, 2014

    I’m pretty much with Scott in developing scenarios. It starts almost non-existant, is brought into being through interactions with the PCs. I’d add fronts, to use the *W terminology, to the list of elements. I also keep a list of names which I puts notes against as I use them.

    Having talked about what the GMs want, could you also consider what the players want or need, particularly as they start a scenario?

    Also, and this is a fairly recent development in scenario design, what do you do about diversity in your scenarios?

  2. “could you consider what the players want or need”.

    I like the sound of that.

    Diversity? You’re asking a show made by three middle-class white guys what we do about diversity? Seriously I think that would be a good subject for a future episode.

  3. I tend to start with a genre (“I want to write a horror adventure I can use to promote GURPS Horror”), then look for a hook – trying very hard, as you guys pointed out, not to make it a scene at the end of the adventure, because then events (and players) will conspire to prevent me reaching it.

    A few years ago I read some advice from TSR for writing tournament modules, along the lines of: don’t try to come up with every possible solution for an encounter. Come up with one thing that definitely will work, and three or four things that won’t work and why not, then leave the rest fo the GM. I think that’s also a good principle in the sort of investigative adventure that I tend to favour.

  4. @57:00 “could the interesting NPCs be the player characters?” +1 I have done this a couple of times with published scenarios e.g. when I ran “Uisge Beatha” (from “Shadows over Scotland) I made the laird a player character

  5. I’ve yet to read or play Shadows over Scotland, but I hear it’s good.

  6. Paul Lawrence Mar 11, 2014

    Excellent podcast guys, top drawer discussion 🙂

    What are your views on PvP in con scenarios, and if you don’t mind I would like your views on the following two ‘broad brush’ types:
    1) Two or more opposed views that have a high percentage chance of their meeting ending in violence ?
    2) As (1) but with very little chance of physical violence, but involve social conflict ?

    Plus, how do you control these during a convention game?

  7. Thanks Paul, this sounds like good fuel for discussion in an episode.

  8. Paul Lawrence Mar 11, 2014

    Hi again, just to clarify my questions above a bit more:
    (1) Will often result in violence within the group of players, possibly fatal. If this is a convention game, how do you control the build up, as a mass scrap within the first 10 minutes is undesirable.
    (2) Social conflict, for example members of the same organisation working towards the same common goal, and pursuing their own personal conflicting agendas. So, for example Person 1 is holding a press conference on behalf of their company, and Person 2 gets a stooge in the audience to heckle. Or more extreme Person 1 tampers with the slide pack of Person 2 just before an internal conference. In this type of PvP, openly engaging in direct physical conflict with an opposing character, could be an instant loss of stature.

    I could write loads more, but that defeats the object of letting you guys discuss this 😉

  9. Thanks, Paul. That should be an excellent topic for discussion, and I have strong opinions on the matter!

  10. Just playing catch-up with a few podcasts and am on your fine work at the moment. As one of the editors, my personal thanks to Scott for mentioning our humble publication Protodimension!

Blasphemous Tomes © 2018