Thursday, January 25, 2007

Planning by Pagecount

I am pleased to report that more folks have signed on to take the WoAdWriMo Challenge. Without a doubt there a still some out in internet-land who are still on the fence. Here's one way to make the 32 page goal seem a lot less daunting: Try cutting up the task into distinctive pieces of only a few pages at a time.

Here's an example. Say I want to write an old school adventure module, with a dungeon in the middle of a wilderness area. That easily breaks down into chunks. The wilderness area will include a two page map spread, and at least four pages of description of various encounter areas. The dungeon will be three large levels and two small levels. The large levels will each have full page maps and maybe three pages of text. The maps of the two smaller levels will share a page and will need maybe 3 pages of description between the two of them. A mini-dungeon elsewhere on the wilderness map will require a single map and three pages of text.

That ought to cover the basics of an old fashioned site based adventure. For extras I want a village that the PCs can use as a base of operations. That will need another page for a map and maybe 2 pages of text. The main villain and couple henchmen will need full NPC write-ups, say one page for the villain and 1 split between the evil lieutenants. Let's see where this puts us as far as pagecount goes:

2 wilderness map
4 wilderness description
5 dungeon maps
15 dungeon text
1 town map
2 town text

That's 31 pages! Wow, that worked out a lot better than I thought it would when I started this exercise. If anything, this particular project could go over the 32 page goal, as the list above fails to include several items that will add to pagecount. I don't have an introduction or a table of contents or index. I have allocated any space to illustrations. I was thinking 2 half-page and at least 4 quarter-page illos, in addition to the cover image. And I wanted to include at least one new monster and magic item in an appendix, simply because I can.

For more plot and story oriented adventures more of your pagecount will be taken up with things like background information on the situation at hand, more NPCs, story flowcharts, and things like that. But I think this same basic method could help out those kinds of adventures as well.

Again, I urge anyone still hesitant to take the Challenge: just give it a try. We will help you! Do not hesitate to ask for assistance either here or at our forum.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Resolve to take the Challenge

If you are still on the fence about joining the WoAdWriMo team, now is the perfect time to make a New Year's Resolution: to write a complete 32+ page adventure module by June 30th, 2007.

Don't worry if the size of the undertaking seems intimidating. Maybe you just need to look for ways to make our challenge easier on yourself. Do you have a favorite homemade adventure? The fact that it's old hat to your local players doesn't disqualify it from becoming a WoAdWriMo module. Flesh those notes out, give them some real polish, and you'll be surprised how close you are to the 32 page goal. Do you have a system that is particularly easy for you? If you think to yourself "Oh, yeah. Making foes in System X is a snap," then maybe that's what system you should use for you WoAdWriMo project.

And finally, don't hestiate to take tired, old clichés out for a spin. Dragons menacing princesses, tramp star-freighters smuggling spice, and slick espionage agents packing Walther PPKs are clichés for a reason: that stuff works. And you'd be surprised by the number of veteran gamers who would appreciate your spin on these tired old ideas.