GM’s Musings – Adventure Writing

Not particularly relevant to the Dragon Warriors / Savage Worlds issue, but pen-worthy nevertheless.

PC Types and Player Types

I’ve been thinking more recently about GMing and adventure writing, looking at how I can up my game. After three winters back at the table and sufficient sessions with Savage Worlds that I again feel comfortable with what I’m doing, I’ve started reading around a bit more on the subject of leading games and designing adventures. The latest input was Cherie “Jade” Arbuckle’s readable and read-worthy “adventure creation handbook“.

Trying to get away from this

One of the ideas that’s been floating around at the back of my mind for some time, but which I have yet to implement to my satisfaction, is the inclusion of events in each session which make each of the players feel that their PC is special and essential to the group. Jade takes this concept further and mentions the concept of player types as well, which I’ve explored a bit in the meantime. The question isn’t just what makes the PC special, it’s what keeps that player at the table.

I have the (un)enviable advantage as a GM of being able to poll 75% of my core gaming group at the breakfast table, for the other 25% I have to wait for the train commute to work. So I asked them this morning what their favourite aspects of gaming are. My wife and daughter outed themselves as problem solvers; the last session started with them all locked up in cages on a pirate island – how are they going to escape the prison and the island, which really worked for them. My son likes the whole concept of adventuring (though I know for a fact that he’s a combat/treasure hound). The neighbour loves the strategic aspect of gaming, and dislikes interruptions where I have to look up obscure rules, confirming my decision to Go Savage – the focus on the battle maps and the ease of use rules tailor to both of these tastes.

Then I spent a couple of minutes on Charles Ryan’s “What Player Type Are You” questionnaire on Quizfarm, which confirmed what I understood my own player-type to be, namely a storyteller, which is why I GM I guess.

Lots of ideas to be working on anyway, and now I’ve got Cherie’s handbook it should be easier to plan adventures using these concepts. There’s nothing earth-shatteringly new in the book, and in several places I found myself nodding, realising that I was instinctively doing what she was advocating, but it does put it all together in a mechanical way that should make it easier to plan deliberately around the players and their PCs rather than trying to fit them into my private story.

Things I want to focus on / Tips I’ve picked up

  • Each adventure should try to include events which showcase each of the PCs abilities
  • Each adventure should include elements which interest all of the players
  • Adventures can start with these elements and be built around them, rather than artificially tacking them onto the finished scenario


Coming Soon:

Problem solving in RPG adventures.

About Mike Page

I’m a Christian, a father, a husband, a biochemist (PhD), a photographer, a gardener, a lover of good rock music, food wine and beer, an ex-pat, a lousy pianist and a patent examiner.
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