Sunday, 22 January 2012

In Search of the City of the Serpent Queen

Digging through old ideas I found this, my entry for Chris Kutalik's last Asinine Adventure Contest at Hill Cantons, which it turns out I never posted. It's silly, clichéd and has very dodgy jokes, enough to scrape a joint second place overall. All the winners are here.

Notes on design and how to use it

The title was rolled up on the old school module name generator. I made the city a pocket universe so it could be hidden in the landscape, to play with the usual one-page adventure approach by using an image with the locations highlighted instead of a map.

There's minimal text, with the idea being that what there is suggests familiar concepts, to prompt the GM to improvise and make that easier, to keep things dynamic and help adapt the material to the group and context. This is an approach I've used a lot recently and with the right prompts it works well. The image means the players can look at the landscape and speculate as if they're there, and the GM can even riff off their thinking.

It's designed to work with old school RPGs and be very rules light. If the game uses hit dice and you can work up effects and any other stats on the fly, it should be simple.

You can roll or choose a purpose and have the idea be to find the city and achieve it, or make the purpose a larger context only. You might also need to decide how the party got into the cavern, how they change location and how often they have an encounter.

You roll 2D6 for each encounter to get five pieces of information - how close the party is to the city, number of snakes met, their hit dice, how many features the snakes have and whether another party turns up. There's a table each for the features and parties.

If you want to use it yourself, I'll be very happy, and if anything's unclear, just ask.

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