Hi! And welcome to #RPGaDay2021
Autocratik extended an invitation to everybody to publish something related to TTRPGs once a day for the whole month of August. I’ve never participated in something like this but, since I love roleplaying games SO much—and this sounds like lots of fun—I decided to give it a go and see what happens.
Each day has a word or words that serve as a prompt. Today’s word is Scenario, and that brings a few things to mind, so I’ll share all of them with you.
The First Scenario I Ran: New Beginnings
My introduction to TTRPGS was through a friend who GMed MERP (Middle-earth Roleplaying Game) for a group of classmates before we even had news of The Lord of the Rings’ movies.
A couple of months after that, another group of classmates wanted to start a new group. Each of us contributed with the equivalent of 7 USD so we bought the AD&D 2nd Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide, MC4 Monstrous Compendium Dragonlance Appendix, and New Beginnings, an adventure booklet for the Time of the Dragon Boxed Set, set in the continent of Taladas in Krynn. One of my classmates had a photocopied (!) version of the AD&D 2nd Edition Player’s Handbook… Without the wizard spells!
It took me a couple of weeks and I read most of that material until, on May 1st (Labor’s Day where I live, so it was a holiday) we met at one of my classmate’s house and I ran the adventure in New Beginnings to the four of them. They created characters while I double and triple checked the notes I had and then I ran the adventure.
I don’t remember much about it, except the opening scene, but I think I was at least OK as a GM, as my classmates wanted to meet again to keep on playing. To this day I remember this adventure fondly, so I’ll probably convert it to D&D 5E and maybe run it again some day.
The First Scenario I Wrote: A Death on Stage
I’m not sure of the exact date, but I’m pretty sure it was back in 2005 when I wrote my first scenario for a tiny convention. It was based upon the novel Morality Play by Barry Unsworth, and I wrote it for Dark Ages: Vampire, but with the players playing mortal characters. I wrote seven or eight pregenerated characters with both stats and their backstory, personality traits, and roleplaying tips.
I started writing it on my Olivetti Lettera, the best Christmas gift I ever received and finished it by hand, along with corrections and changes. I finally ran it and it was kinda of O-K, although I felt that I had spent far too many time on the scenario for what I received back. When one invests a lot of time doing prep before a session—or, in this case, writing a complete scenario, with characters and all—one kind of expects that players will fall in love and say that one is the best GM they’ve ever had, yada yada.
I’ve thought many times to come back to this scenario, rewrite it for Call of Cthulhu: Dark Ages or something like that, and maybe share it/publish it/submit it to a magazine.
The First Scenario I Published: Banshee
Back in 2016 The Fate Codex published my first Fate World: Banshee, about the corporeal incarnations of Death in the material plane. That little book contains a scenario that not only presents the type of challenges the banshees face, but also incorporates the ideas I had at the time about improvisational mysteries, which I further developed in an article of its own in another number of the magazine.
Writing scenarios for publications is super weird, and it may very well be the most demanding type of writing. You have to be able to convey to someone you don’t know—and can never know—what an scenario is about, how to run it, and what things are important (and which ones are not), all while being able to produce something that reads OK because, well, editors.
I had to cut and rewrite a lot of that adventure, but the final result, I think, stands on its own as a good example of what I was able to do back in the day, what were and still are my interests, and the way I try to communicate with prospective GMs. Not to long ago someone asked me for an example on how to apply the improvisational mysteries philosophy at the table and I was happy to redirect them to the adventure on Banshee. It felt good.
So: that’s it for day one out of 31 on this #RPGaDay2021. Please, feel free to comment with your own ideas and experiences when it comes to Scenarios in TTRPGs below.
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