Advice on custom-made adventures

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Advice on custom-made adventures

Post by Rockatansky »

Hi everyone,
First of all, a brief introduction: I come from Pathfinder and I've never played DCC or any similar game before.

I've been reading some adventures and I'll start with them, but I'm starting to think about making my own. Right now I feel that it's harder to make a (good) DCC adventure rather than a PF one, and I feel I have to do a very different work for each game. The problem I find is that, while in PF I always had a trap, monster or table to refer to, in DCC I have no clue where to start. For example, Portal and Starless Sea seem to have very inspired encounters, and fair to some extent. I think I would make too deadly or too soft dungeons, or that my encounters would feel uninspired compared to theirs.
I understand that most of this "knowledge" will come by playing and doing it wrong but I would like to smoothen the beginning a bit. I'm not asking for specifics but for general advice that you, as Judges, can give to a new, clueless Judge. Any experiences, hints, advice on how to do it or how not to do it are welcome.

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Re: Advice on custom-made adventures

Post by Ravenheart87 »

I find it easier to make adventures for DCC because it takes no effort to come up with sh*t on the fly. DCC doesn't give a crap about balance, no need to fine tune encounters for the party. Go with similar HD and damage for the monsters in an average encounter, but don't be surprised when everything falls apart thanks to a critical or a spellburned spell. That's part of DCC's charm, no need to sweat it. Still, if you want some quick monsters feel free to use the Monster Helper from the People Them With Monsters blog: ... pIU0U/edit

The hardest part is not the mechanics, but coming up with memorable gonzo stuff for it. Some B-movies, metal music, comics, classic fantasy literature always helps me. Generally I write adventures like this for my sandbox campaign:

1, Come up with some cool area I would want to visit. Let's say it's a flying fortress.
2, Add some monsters that fit the place. The flying fortress is inhabited by amazons who ride ancient hoverboards á la Green Goblin. They also tame sabertooth tigers to guard their vaults. Their high priestess uses magic and an ancient force shield when in danger.
3, Add some treasure the players will want. The hoverboards (with limited fuel of course) are good enough, but some more antediluvian tech never hurts, and of course jewelry. The best will be a blaster, which backfires on fumble. I love magic items that have some curse or drawback.
4, Add traps and lots of stuff to make the place interactive. Since it's a flying fortress traps that make you fall or launch stuff to the sky are trivial. I would also allow them to tamper with the control room, the reactor, and the magnetic levitation device that keeps the castle afloat.
5, For hook I'll use an NPC who owes them a lot of money. He was captured by the amazons during a raid, he is kept for breeding, since the amazons don't have males and only give birth to females.
6, Add some more cool stuff for no reason. An amazon who falls in love with a PC at first sight and wants to help him. A prisoner who is an android in disguise and wants the core of the reactor. A potion that changes the visible gender - a failed amazon experiment to produce their own males. A fluffy sabertooth tiger cub. Whatever.
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Re: Advice on custom-made adventures

Post by Rockatansky »

Thanks. As you said, the hardest part is coming up with that kind of ideas, but your advice has been most helpful. I'll work hard on the appendix N for inspiration.
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Re: Advice on custom-made adventures

Post by Bobjester »

A little more thread necro tonight: ;)

I've discovered a great adventure title generator:
The blurb on bing read:
“The Spider Ravine. Dwimmerlaik of Nodens. The Treasure of Weirdbone Dungeon. The Hidden Caverns of Foolsmire. Robethorn Vault. Domain of the Gluttonous Keeper. The Enigma of the Screaming Vats. The Dark of Ravencombe. Aside from the Dungeon Master’s Guide, I’ve also taken much inspiration from David Kent Kelly’s Castle Oldskull, AEG’s Ultimate Toolbox, and Matt Finch’s Tome of Adventure Design.”

It wasn't until I used this title generator that I got inspiration for DCC adventures. I have one that is almost halfway done, and several planned on fleshing out after it, 2 of which are direct sequels, as they build on the ideas presented in the first.

For me, the title doesn't always have to come first, but usually, it inspires the back cover blurb like the dungeon modules of old, and if I could come up with a clever blurb, then that was simply an artful way of describing my adventure outline!

Sometimes taking the design process and turning it on it's head is the only way of getting ideas out of yours!
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Re: Advice on custom-made adventures

Post by CapnZapp »

I think that before attempting to create your own DCC adventures, it is prudent to gamesmaster (or judge) a couple of pre-published ones, to better get into the "rhythm" of the game.

Which is decidedly different from both Pathfinder and D&D (5).
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Re: Advice on custom-made adventures

Post by Father Goose »

That's good advice for some, but not all. I personally find that my games are clunky and awkward when I run material designed by someone else. I read the adventure, I get excited, I love the concepts, but I can't make it flow.
When I run my own material (even if it isn't as well thought out as something in a published module) the flow is smoother.
So I am in the "find your own rhythm" camp. For some, that means running published modules. For others, that means writing your own material. For a third group that means winging it off the cuff in response to inspirations of the moment. Etc.
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