Scenario-Based Gaming

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Lofgeornost

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Since there has been a lot of useful discussion of how to do sandbox campaigns, I thought it might be worthwhile to have a similar thread focused on scenario-driven ones. By that I mean simply games where a session will typically focus on a mission, adventure, or mystery created by the GM.

I want to be clear that, in my opinion at least, this is not the same thing as a railroad. Players may have a variety of different adventure hooks presented to them, to choose the one they wish, and they can have nearly complete freedom (within the limits of the game-world and premise) as to how they deal with the scenario. But in these games, the GM is creating puzzles for the players to solve or challenges for them to overcome or avoid, and the players are reacting to them.

While this does not offer the same freedom for players that a sandbox does, scenario-based games do have some compensating characteristics, I think:
  • They can make preparation easier for the GM, since he or she will have a basic idea of what the players will be dealing with in a given session. Some types of high-preparation gaming I personally prefer only to do in a scenario format, like complex mysteries which require lots of planning of the underlying conundrum and its clues. I don’t want to do all the work only to see it never used.
  • They fit well with certain premises or genres, especially those where the players are part of some sort of organization (like Star Fleet) or in a profession where they take on assignments (like private eyes, gunslingers for hire, etc.).
  • More casual players, who may have little interest in taking the initiative or defining their own character’s goals, often find scenario-based play more attractive. They can relax and react to whatever the challenge of the session is, rather than charting their own course.
So, how does a GM handle scenario-based campaigns well? In particular, how can one maintain a fair amount of freedom of action for players within the confines of a pre-planned adventure? If you practice this sort of gaming, what kinds of work and creation do you do to prepare for a session?
 

Winterblight

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Since there has been a lot of useful discussion of how to do sandbox campaigns, I thought it might be worthwhile to have a similar thread focused on scenario-driven ones. By that I mean simply games where a session will typically focus on a mission, adventure, or mystery created by the GM.

As I mentioned in one of the other threads, I'm not really sure what it is I do as a GM anymore. I find if someone says 'this is what a sandbox is', I say 'hey, that sounds like what I do' and if someone says 'missions', I say 'hey, that sounds like what I do, and if some says 'multithreading' I say 'hey, isn't that what I do?'

I guess my scenarios 'yes, that's what I do' take part in the context of a campaign world, which is the sand box. I write a lot of scenario based adventures, but characters are still able to do what they want. Does the scenario become the sandbox?

But yes, one of the benefits of the scenario is that a GM doesn't have to think much outside the premise. I think scenarios can be tailored to almost any genre or premise, I've done scenarios for horror, sci fi, gritty, high fantasy, steam punk etc.
  • More casual players, who may have little interest in taking the initiative or defining their own character’s goals, often find scenario-based play more attractive. They can relax and react to whatever the challenge of the session is, rather than charting their own course.

Do you mean one shot scenarios where, when the characters are successful the game is over and next session you move on to a completely different scenario either with the existing characters or new characters? Maybe 'Canned Scenarios' is the term I'm looking for where there is no real interference from the outside world and the characters never change anything other than survive and level up or die.
 

Vidgrip

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The last two campaigns I have run used different systems but both consisted of what you are calling "scenario-based" gaming. The party works for a living by accepting missions from various patrons. Sometimes I present a conflict between two rival patrons and the party can decide which side to support.

A mission might last one to five gaming sessions depending on how players decide to approach it. Failing a mission is always possible, as is walking away to find a new mission (although they have never done this). I make no effort to lay out a required path or sequence of encounters. How they get the job done is completely up to them. As GM I can always envision multiple ways to succeed, and the players often come up with viable approaches that I didn't expect. That is "working as intended".

During their mission, players frequently learn about background events unfolding in the region through rumors, news reports, tavern tales and job postings. The degree to which players show an interest in these events guides me in deciding which will develop into a future mission.

Before the campaign begins, I must prep the world (or at least the local region) and the major patrons. After that, I am generally preparing one mission ahead of them. This has been working well for this particular group of players.
 

Lofgeornost

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As I mentioned in one of the other threads, I'm not really sure what it is I do as a GM anymore. I find if someone says 'this is what a sandbox is', I say 'hey, that sounds like what I do' and if someone says 'missions', I say 'hey, that sounds like what I do, and if some says 'multithreading' I say 'hey, isn't that what I do?'

I guess my scenarios 'yes, that's what I do' take part in the context of a campaign world, which is the sand box. I write a lot of scenario based adventures, but characters are still able to do what they want. Does the scenario become the sandbox?
Yeah, I think the distinctions can become pretty blurry in practice--and when you are running a campaign, as opposed to talking about it online, they don't really matter all that much. My impression is that some sandbox GMs reject any scenario-based play: their players are never supplied with missions, quests, etc. but are supposed to come up with their own direction for what they want to do. Others mix missions with more free-form play.

Of course, any game is probably going to take place in a (somewhat) pre-planned campaign world, whether the session is mission-based or more 'what do your characters want to do?' in its framing. And as scenarios and sessions accumulate, that world typically gets richer and more detailed, and the PCs connections to it become more various and deep.

Do you mean one shot scenarios where, when the characters are successful the game is over and next session you move on to a completely different scenario either with the existing characters or new characters? Maybe 'Canned Scenarios' is the term I'm looking for where there is no real interference from the outside world and the characters never change anything other than survive and level up or die.

I didn't mean just one-shot games, no. I've had players--heck, in some games, I've been the player--who was not really interested in some overall goal and was more reactive than active. This player just wants to show up and play the character, roll the dice, etc. That can be easier if the session is built around a mission or adventure presented by the GM. Then the player's job becomes figuring out how to do the task, solve the mystery, meet the challenge. There is none of the 'analysis paralysis' that can come with the freedom to do literally anything.

It also fits well with some genres. Star Trek episodes, for instance, rarely begin with 'well, we decided to do this.' Instead, it's 'Star Fleet Command has sent us to the Playtex sector to negotiate the return of hostages seized by Orion pirates' (or what have you). And hard-boiled detective stories normally start with the client presenting the case to the investigator.
 

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The last two scenarios I've run were for the DC Heroes game (2e I think, though the second was Green Arrow/Black canary and they haven't changed much between versions of the game). Both were pretty dull and to spruce things up in the Green Arrow game I threw in Deathstroke and Cheshire to go up against Green Arrow. Both were successfully concluded but the Superman/Batman game had Superman knocked about from pillar to post, I burned through all the hero points in no time and still got my ass handed thanks to a succession of terrible dice rolls. Plus it reinforced that Superman really isn't that interesting to play. He hits stuff.

I'd be more interested in a scenario where various interesting locations are listed, there's no specific order to play them in and they are linked in some way. So if you finish one there's a good reason to go to the next location but you don't break the game if you miss it out. Of course at some point the published adventures funnel you towards the conclusion but I'm more of a sand boxy type player (when I get chance to actually play) these days rather than listen to some dry text being read out.

In fact I struggle to recall when there were any adventures that players genuninely thought were good. The first time I ran Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh had the players interested but it was a one shot thing when you'd cleared it out unless you repopulated it with different bad guys. I can see Keep on the Borderlands being re-usable because its a hack and slay type murder hobo day trip affair (or at least that's how I remember it. It's been... forty years since I played or ran it?).

Queen Victoria and the holy Grail (for Golden Heroes) was good and come to think of it so was Legacy of Eagles (again, GH). I incorporated elements of Queen Vic and the HG in the current campaign for my supers game and I can tell the players like the tying in of something they played decades ago to modern day play.
 

Séadna

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I suppose this would be pretty close to games I play, or at least it's the most common type. Basically a sandbox/area to run around in, but there is an overarching goal like "free the county from the evil magistrate", "seal the gate of Dr'qhal", etc. It's handy because people get the sandbox stuff to enjoy, but then however they deal with the big thing at the end provides a nice memorable cap to the game.
 

Lofgeornost

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The last two campaigns I have run used different systems but both consisted of what you are calling "scenario-based" gaming. The party works for a living by accepting missions from various patrons. Sometimes I present a conflict between two rival patrons and the party can decide which side to support.

A mission might last one to five gaming sessions depending on how players decide to approach it. Failing a mission is always possible, as is walking away to find a new mission (although they have never done this). I make no effort to lay out a required path or sequence of encounters. How they get the job done is completely up to them. As GM I can always envision multiple ways to succeed, and the players often come up with viable approaches that I didn't expect. That is "working as intended".

During their mission, players frequently learn about background events unfolding in the region through rumors, news reports, tavern tales and job postings. The degree to which players show an interest in these events guides me in deciding which will develop into a future mission.

Before the campaign begins, I must prep the world (or at least the local region) and the major patrons. After that, I am generally preparing one mission ahead of them. This has been working well for this particular group of players.

This is pretty much what I do as well. Depending on the game premise, there may be more or less freedom of the players to decline missions--military and spy organizations may not permit that for their operatives, for instance. I do think it's key to allow the players to approach the mission or problem in whatever way they want, consistent with the setting.

I do put some work into imagining how the players might deal with the situation and coming up with likely responses by the other parties involved in the scenario. Very often the players come up with something I have never dreamed of, though, so improvisation is still needed. The real test comes when the players find some creative solution I'd never dreamed of which more-or-less short-circuits the scenario, providing an ending much faster and more easily than I'd expected. This doesn't happen all that often, but it does come up sometimes. When it does, I've only found three answers:
  • Sometimes it makes sense to stretch things out by introducing additional complications to the scenario. I don't mean things that will invalidate the players' unexpected and successful resolution, but just add other things they might have to deal with. So, for example, if the PCs have to travel before implementing their solution, injecting a few more encounters or roadblocks along the way which I might have skipped if they were using a more laborious method for dealing with the problem.
  • Ending the session early, in PC victory or disaster, and then either doing something else (maybe a short boardgame) or engaging in some incidental roleplaying for the campaign--'shopping trips,' meetings with an old mentor, that sort of thing.
  • Ideally, having another scenario prepped and ready to go, so that if the players resolve the initial problem in 30 minutes we then go on to their next mission or adventure.
 

Lofgeornost

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In fact I struggle to recall when there were any adventures that players genuninely thought were good. The first time I ran Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh had the players interested but it was a one shot thing when you'd cleared it out unless you repopulated it with different bad guys. I can see Keep on the Borderlands being re-usable because its a hack and slay type murder hobo day trip affair (or at least that's how I remember it. It's been... forty years since I played or ran it?).

Yeah, I should be clear that while scenario-based play can be done by using published adventures, I really had in mind scenarios that the GM constructs himself or herself. I think I mostly do scenario-based gaming when I am a GM, but I hardly ever use a published adventure.
 

Sloth_in_a_bowl

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For me Shadowrun was the classic scenario based game. The crew had a task that they had taken on but how they approached it was as freeform as they liked. I could run those scenarios with no issues and the wider world got fleshed out slowly over time as the players wanted more between mission time.
Also as the GM I wouldn't run a purchased scenario as the book, but would adapt it to the wants, skills and style of the group.

Running a chain of D&D adventures can have a similar effect. I think that many groups change slowly from scenario play to sandbox play as they want to revisit the effects of their previous actions and start to become drivers in the world rather than actors in other people's power plays.
Of course, some players never really get the confidence to strike out with their own plans and a GM has to be aware of the fact that they don't want too much sandbox.
 

Lunamancer

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As I mentioned in one of the other threads, I'm not really sure what it is I do as a GM anymore. I find if someone says 'this is what a sandbox is', I say 'hey, that sounds like what I do' and if someone says 'missions', I say 'hey, that sounds like what I do, and if some says 'multithreading' I say 'hey, isn't that what I do?'
Agreed. Because the truth, or at least the truth of what I do, is an endless cycle of evaluating and improving my game to make it more fun, constantly fixing flaws as I see them.

If I'm running a sandbox for 4 players, and the party splits up, such that each player only actually spends 25% of the time playing the game, and the other 75% of the time twiddling their thumbs, if they're not having fun, I'm not just going to say "But sandbox!" I'm going to try to do something to fix the problem. Like say, "Hey guys. You can do whatever you want. The only thing I ask is that you do it together as a party." If a simple request leads to someone flapping their jowls about how that's no longer a reeel sandbox, perhaps a "qualified sandbox" at best, I don't think we're in a realm where these labels and definitions are useful.

My philosophy is, if there's something fun out there, I want to figure out if I can adapt it to my campaign.

But yes, one of the benefits of the scenario is that a GM doesn't have to think much outside the premise. I think scenarios can be tailored to almost any genre or premise, I've done scenarios for horror, sci fi, gritty, high fantasy, steam punk etc.

Exactly! I take detail in my sandboxes sometimes to a degree that borders on mentally ill. Like including tracking profit & losses, inventory and revenue for shopkeepers. But there's no way possible, even though I use a lot of technology aids, to have all of the info in front of me where I can execute it seamlessly during play. I need some way of paring it down. I view "scenarios" as mini-sandboxes inside of the bigger sandbox. In this mini sandbox, we may have different ground rules. We definitely have different toys, and even sometimes a different type of sand. The sandbox is a lot smaller, and we may even bump against the sides now and then. But this lets me get my notes down to something manageable.
 

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As I see it, some of the strength of scenario-based games include:
  • Good at the start of a campaign -or for shorter campaign as there is often a leading time before player characters start developing more personal agendas
  • Also good for episodic campaigns in which there may be long gaps between sessions or when you expect attendance of the players to vary from session to session
  • Focused scope allows the GM to prep in more depth
  • Some players find it more satifsying having to be given a clear objective
I would say there are further difference in how I approach a standalone scenario-based game which might even have time limit and one that can span sessions or fit as part of an ongoing campaign.
 

Fenris-77

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A lot of people favour some flavour of node-based design for constructing scenario-based games. Personally, I find even many of those approaches a little too linear for my tastes. I prefer a web based design approach where you have concentric layers of clues and information with many connections to each other and the next layer with the final scene/guy/whatever at the center. That might not sound a lot different than some of the common node layouts, but I find in practice that it better scaffolds a wide open approach as far as what the players can do and where they can 'start' peeling the scenario back.
 

TJS

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I think people often tend to overthink it.

I would recommend working out first what the situation is, and then how the players can become involved in it.

If it's an episodic game of the week type structure it is even easier. For the most part you can just take something relatively straightforward and twist it in some way. Where people go wrong is they think it has to be a really clever twist - it really doesn't (and in fact it can get frustrating when players' expectations about what they are going to do each session are frequently thwarted).
 

Fenris-77

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When I'm writing up a scenario I tend to focus on NPCs and factions. Even for a mystery, which often looks like it relies on physical clues, I still tend to emphasize faces. NPCs are portable in a way that physical clues aren't and that lets me have the group reasonably encounter an important piece of information in several places. I also find competing factions or interests within one faction to be very helpful. The competing motivations there are a wide open door for a party acquire all manner of information, allies, and access.
 

BedrockBrendan

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my favorite scenarios are mysteries/investigations and monster hunts. I find those are adventures I know how to prep for without much of an issue (monster hunts are fun because you usually start with the monster, and I enjoy using that as a starting point for adventure design). Also the monster hunt is pretty flexible in terms of how the player tackle the scenario. Investigations are more intensive in terms of prep I think. But rewarding if you do them well.
 

Lofgeornost

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When I'm writing up a scenario I tend to focus on NPCs and factions. Even for a mystery, which often looks like it relies on physical clues, I still tend to emphasize faces. NPCs are portable in a way that physical clues aren't and that lets me have the group reasonably encounter an important piece of information in several places. I also find competing factions or interests within one faction to be very helpful. The competing motivations there are a wide open door for a party acquire all manner of information, allies, and access.

Yes. When I'm constructing a mystery, I usually start with the kernel--the hidden fact, relationship, whatever is at the core of the mystery--and then start thinking about who knows what about it. And also what individuals don't know, or mistakenly think they know. Often pondering that makes me rethink the initial kernel somewhat, as I come up with possibilities I hadn't considered before. But I'm focusing more on what information exists, in what minds or in what other forms, than I am about physical locations and clues in a forensic sense. I work on those later, if it's necessary--for a premodern setting a lot of investigatory techniques like fingerprints, etc. just don't exist.

A lot of people favour some flavour of node-based design for constructing scenario-based games. Personally, I find even many of those approaches a little too linear for my tastes. I prefer a web based design approach where you have concentric layers of clues and information with many connections to each other and the next layer with the final scene/guy/whatever at the center. That might not sound a lot different than some of the common node layouts, but I find in practice that it better scaffolds a wide open approach as far as what the players can do and where they can 'start' peeling the scenario back.

Do you use some sort of actual physical diagram to envision these relationships, or are web and nodes just metaphors here? I don't typically draw diagrams myself, unless they are of some actual existing space (floor plans, maps, that sort of thing) or of genealogical or organizational relationships. I've wondered if I should experiment with that sort of thing, though.
 

Fenris-77

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Do you use some sort of actual physical diagram to envision these relationships, or are web and nodes just metaphors here? I don't typically draw diagrams myself, unless they are of some actual existing space (floor plans, maps, that sort of thing) or of genealogical or organizational relationships. I've wondered if I should experiment with that sort of thing, though.
This really depends on the actual scenario. I will often do my initial design and brainstorming as a mind map though, so the structure in built right in. Once I've bulked things out and added stuff I'll redraw the map in a final draft. For simpler scenarios that might not be necessary. I usually do this pencil and paper but there are apps for this sort of thing as well.
 

hawkeyefan

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Do you use some sort of actual physical diagram to envision these relationships, or are web and nodes just metaphors here? I don't typically draw diagrams myself, unless they are of some actual existing space (floor plans, maps, that sort of thing) or of genealogical or organizational relationships. I've wondered if I should experiment with that sort of thing, though.

I ran a game where the PCs were all cops of some sort in the setting, and I used a graphic of a pegboard with NPC photos on it like the kind you see in cop shows, with strings connecting them and little notes about the connections. I don't normally do that kind of thing, but it seemed like a good fit for that game.
 

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Yes. When I'm constructing a mystery, I usually start with the kernel--the hidden fact, relationship, whatever is at the core of the mystery--and then start thinking about who knows what about it. And also what individuals don't know, or mistakenly think they know. Often pondering that makes me rethink the initial kernel somewhat, as I come up with possibilities I hadn't considered before. But I'm focusing more on what information exists, in what minds or in what other forms, than I am about physical locations and clues in a forensic sense. I work on those later, if it's necessary--for a premodern setting a lot of investigatory techniques like fingerprints, etc. just don't exist.
I'm glad I'm not the only one that does it in this way, because I was getting seriously weirded out by the fact that nobody else has even mentioned this approach:thumbsup:!
 

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Usually I write my own stuff. But there are a lot of good Call of Cthulhu scenarios that I want to try, and so I once put together a campaign that linked these together in a 1920's campaign. Understand that the aim was to run Masks of Nyarlathotep, and the difficulty of the earlier edition of Masks was that it began with "You are all good friends with Jackson Elias," and usually ended sooner rather than later with the players saying, "Well, he wasn't that good a friend..."

So, the object of the exercise was to get the players and their characters invested in Mr. Elias so that when he ran into problems they would accept it as part of the furniture. This meant rewriting a number of scenarios very lightly to make him a patron, or someone they could talk to. For this to work he had to consistently survive. I pulled in a lot of the free Chaosium scenarios, most of Secrets of New Orleans, some other odds and ends, one scenario out of Mysteries of Mesoamerica. Occasionally when I needed a bridging piece, I wrote something myself.

We never did reach Masks. But it was well received at the time, and I would gladly try it again sometime.
 

AsenRG

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If I'm lucky, I might start playing in a scenarios-based game this week:thumbsup:!
Yes, I know it's not adding much to the thread, but I just wanted to brag:grin:!
 

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I suppose this would be pretty close to games I play, or at least it's the most common type. Basically a sandbox/area to run around in, but there is an overarching goal like "free the county from the evil magistrate", "seal the gate of Dr'qhal", etc. It's handy because people get the sandbox stuff to enjoy, but then however they deal with the big thing at the end provides a nice memorable cap to the game.
This is what I do, as well. In addition, I throw in points of interest that might lead to scenarios that I've created. And if I have a BBEG (or many- opposing or affiliated factions and such) they have plans of their own that don't stop because the players aren't involved.
 

Ronnie Sanford

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This is what I do, as well. In addition, I throw in points of interest that might lead to scenarios that I've created. And if I have a BBEG (or many- opposing or affiliated factions and such) they have plans of their own that don't stop because the players aren't involved.
This is what I do with my pseudo sandboxes.
 

Lofgeornost

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So, let's say you are writing up a scenario or adventure for publication, one that revolves around some central mystery. In the product you are writing, which of course is aimed at gms as the target audience, should you:
  1. Explain what the answer to the central mystery is at the beginning of the document, so that the reader will understand the core of the adventure first off, or,
  2. Leave this at least somewhat unclear with the 'reveal' coming later in the document, to make reading the thing more intriguing and to replicate in some sense the experience the players will have exploring the mystery?
This naturally isn't an issue when writing up notes for one's own use.
 

Fenris-77

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So, let's say you are writing up a scenario or adventure for publication, one that revolves around some central mystery. In the product you are writing, which of course is aimed at gms as the target audience, should you:
  1. Explain what the answer to the central mystery is at the beginning of the document, so that the reader will understand the core of the adventure first off, or,
  2. Leave this at least somewhat unclear with the 'reveal' coming later in the document, to make reading the thing more intriguing and to replicate in some sense the experience the players will have exploring the mystery?
This naturally isn't an issue when writing up notes for one's own use.
If you're aiming for comprehension and recall then give them a rough framework or outline to start, with the start, solution and goals included, and then fill that out over the course of the book. Human brains enjoy have a bookshelf to put information on, if that metaphor makes sense.
 

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Totally option #1. Scenarios books are reference, not fiction. Also if the scenario contains a management summary at the top, it helps me decide quickly if I want to read the rest in case the adventure might not fit my current campaign, it might be too similar to a previous scenario or is just lame.
 

TristramEvans

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I honestly haven't yet come across a good published module for superheroes, the ones I've read are too focused on simplistic combat scenarios.

Usually, when I've used a published adventure in my supers games, I've gone with adapting Call of Cthulhu scenarios, usually replacing the Lovecraftan monster with an appropriate villain or creature. I like the set-up of investigation interspersed with minor encounters/obstacles leading up to a maor confrontation for supers.
 

TJS

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So, let's say you are writing up a scenario or adventure for publication, one that revolves around some central mystery. In the product you are writing, which of course is aimed at gms as the target audience, should you:
  1. Explain what the answer to the central mystery is at the beginning of the document, so that the reader will understand the core of the adventure first off, or,
  2. Leave this at least somewhat unclear with the 'reveal' coming later in the document, to make reading the thing more intriguing and to replicate in some sense the experience the players will have exploring the mystery?
This naturally isn't an issue when writing up notes for one's own use.
I would say 1. I'm unlikely to get very far with an adventure that plays coy these days.

I think a good adventure should have something like an abstract for an academic article. I usually check out a published adventure because I have a certain hole I want to fill - perhaps as a way of fleshing out a sandbox, or because I want to take something for a more established setting and adapt it for or something weirder. Basically there's a good chance for any particular adventure that it's off target, and I want to know that as soon as possible.
 

Lofgeornost

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I would say 1. I'm unlikely to get very far with an adventure that plays coy these days.

I think a good adventure should have something like an abstract for an academic article. I usually check out a published adventure because I have a certain hole I want to fill - perhaps as a way of fleshing out a sandbox, or because I want to take something for a more established setting and adapt it for or something weirder. Basically there's a good chance for any particular adventure that it's off target, and I want to know that as soon as possible.

That mention of an abstract reminds me of something somebody once said to me: 'if you read the abstract and it tells you everything you need to know, don't read any further. You've got what you came for.'

I think a published scenario should definitely be easy to use and organized for use. But nowadays, with the standard being (1) sale in electronic format through Drivethru and (2) a preview which includes the first few pages that you can see for free, I wonder if a mystery-based adventure that tells you what the mystery and its solution are the preview might not be cutting itself off at the knees. Would people bother to buy the cow if you've given the milk away?
 

Fenris-77

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Don't make the preview the same as the abstract? Let's not multiply entities beyond necessity here.
 

hawkeyefan

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I honestly haven't yet come across a good published module for superheroes, the ones I've read are too focused on simplistic combat scenarios.

Usually, when I've used a published adventure in my supers games, I've gone with adapting Call of Cthulhu scenarios, usually replacing the Lovecraftan monster with an appropriate villain or creature. I like the set-up of investigation interspersed with minor encounters/obstacles leading up to a maor confrontation for supers.

The only ones that spring to my mind are the Days of Future Past series from Marvel. I don’t think that they were all great, but overall they worked because they weren’t really linear. One had a cool flow chart on the inside cover to help you track how close the sentinels were getting to finding the heroes’ base.

Not exactly a traditional super hero scenario, but they were solid from what I recall.
 

PolarBlues

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Among superhero adventures, I often recommend "Sins of the Past" from ICONS. It has that rare quality of having a strong, authentic superhero comicbook story that unfolds in a pretty open, non-linear fashion. And it has heart, which is rare in scenarios for any genere. More generally there is a lot of useful ICONS adventures (official and third party). They are generally short, cheap and a bit shallow, but that makes it easier to chop, mix and insert in your current campaign.

But otherwise, yes, I have struggled to find good superhero scenarios. They are often extraordinarily linear or they feel like old school D&D adventures with maps and keyed locations (which may be enjoyable but it capture the superhero feel for me).
 
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