Saturday, June 30, 2007
No let us suppose that you stepped up to the plate and took the WoAdWriMo Challenge, but that you haven't quite finished your adventure. What should you do? First of all, do not panic! Everyone on the WoAdWriMo team understands that it isn't always possible to come through on a time limit operation like this. We totally respect that you took the challenge and celebrate the work that you have done. But what to do with an incomplete adventure? Here are some options:
- Drop the project and try again next year. Response was sufficient that your WoAdWriMo team will be at it again in 2008. We'd like you to be right there with us. You can start a new project or pick up where you left off this year.
- Turn in an unfinished adventure. One of the major goals of WoAdWriMo is to provide free materials for GMs. If you think your incomplete project could still be of use to others, we will gladly accept it into our archive. We'll label the work 'incomplete' as a courtesy to prospective downloaders, but that doesn't mean your work is unappreciated. Thank you for your contribution!
- Keep working. We will gladly accept late submissions. Our one month time limit has always been a guideline, not a straightjacket. If you've got an adventure to share, we'll host it even if you turn it in 11 months from now. We want to show the world your awesome work, no matter when you finish it!
Note that these options can be used in conjunction. If you want to submit what you have now, but update your work later, we're game. We simply ask that you not overload us with a large number of updates on the same project. Send all your adventures and updates to martin AT treasure tables DOT org. Please label the email "WoAdWriMo submission" or something like that.
If you're almost done, stop reading this blog and get back to work! :)
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
And Gabor Lux has sent in Systema Tartarobasis, a 56-page adventure for Castles & Crusades. Wow! Thanks for taking the WoAdWriMo Challenge, Mr. Lux! We are super thrilled to be able to support a great game like C&C!
Peter Seckler (a.k.a. Abyssal Maw) has submitted a second WoAdWriMo adventure! Called Xathyl's Redoubt, this dungeon can be used as a standalone or in conjunction with Peter's first module, The Maze of Cherno. Great work, Peter!
These adventures and any more we receive can be found at the official WoAdWriMo downloads page.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
WE BELIEVE IN YOU!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
As a warm-up, any game-writing newbie facing “writer’s block” should consider discarding the phrase “writer’s block” entirely. It’s a heavy phrase, encumbered with quasi-mythical creative fears. The net result is a kind of Wizard of Oz effect where the tiny trembling little problem puffs itself up into a Great and Powerful foe. Yank that curtain back; and see? It's just workaday anxiety.
- Walk away – for a little while. Never use this as an excuse not to write, but sometimes just going for a swim, washing the dishes, having some sex or taking a brisk walk is the best tonic. Don’t bring work along (mentally or physically); just swim, wash, screw or hike, as you please. Work the knots out, stay active, and make sure there’s more going on in your mind – and your life – than whatever it is you’re trying to write. Stay physical, stay social, and keep perspective.
- Feed your brain with good writing by others, but feed it something unexpected. Read (or watch, or listen to) something tangential. If you’re writing a fantasy module, try a crime-TV-show episode guide or an article on windowsill gardening. If you’re writing a space-adventure piece, read about ancient Persia or try a new cookbook. Sometimes, you’ll find inspiring fragments you can translate back into you work, but for the most part just focus on the writing. Is it clear, engaging, informative? Let it inspire your approach. Is it muddy, dull, and rambling? Let it inspire you to show them how it’s done. Writing well is its own wellspring of energy.
- Take your eyes off the finish line. You eat a pizza one bite of one slice at a time; don’t try to shove the whole pie down your throat. Pick a morsel and savor it, devoting yourself with gusto to a single portion of the project – a sidebar, a particularly eccentric NPC, an especially deadly monster encounter. Then, move on to the next morsel, and enjoy just how different the pieces can be. Before you know it, you’ll be reaching for the crumbs, all done and still hungry for more.
- Never forget to groove on the joy of what you’re engaging in. This is game writing, and that rocks. If the idea of creating RPG material excites you, then you’ve already got the one true secret weapon: tap into your greatest campaigns and favorite characters from the gaming table. Everything you need is right there.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Here's a few things I've learned:
1. When it comes to gaming, doing is better than thinking. Some of the best ideas I've had for adventures or mechanics have come off the top of my head. I think that, in the heat of the moment when I need something cool or entertaining, I just go with what's fun. It's easy in game and adventure design to get caught up in theory, or obsessed over minutia or corner case situations that don't have a real impact on play. When you have five players waiting for something cool to happen, all you want to do as GM is find something fun and entertaining. In that moment, you strip away everything except fun, and I think it's conducive to good gaming ideas.
So, run a game, or play a game (RP, video, or board; whatever's handy) and just focus on what was fun about it. At the end of the day, elegant die mechanics, compelling plot lines, and everything else are all crap unless the end result is fun.
(As an aside, adventures that I ran before publishing have always turned out better than ones that I never ran. I think this bit of advice is the reason why.)
2. Talk games with other, active gamers. I find that just talking about games is stimulating, particularly if you throw some ideas you've had out there. New perspectives, especially from people who game in ways that are really different from your own, can make you look at things in different ways. This doesn't mean slavishly doing what others tell you, but it does mean listening and learning. Sometimes, a fresh angle is what you need to get around a problem.
3. This next bit is totally cribbed from every lame motivational speaker ever, but I think it's useful to keep in mind. Failure is better than mediocrity. It's easy to get too worried about looking goofy, or stick too closely to how you think everyone else wants you to do something, and in the process lose your own voice, vision, and perspective. If you think an idea is maybe a bit stupid, or a little too weird, follow it. At the very least, talk it out with your gaming buddies. It's easy to talk yourself out of a risky but good idea.
(By the same token, if everyone thinks your idea is dumb, trust your friends.)
Hope that helps!
Monday, June 11, 2007
If you feel like you've stumbled and can't quite recover, remember that dedication is the only thing that can see you through to the end of this challenge. You've got to pick yourself up and get back on that bike! If it's been a day or more since you've added something to your module close this browser window and go write something right now!
You can do it!
Friday, June 8, 2007
Just as there are many possibilities for a given adventure, there are many possible ways of describing an adventure. Let's take a look at some of the common elements that writers can use to fill those pages with useful content.
- Discussion of how to integrate the adventure into an ongoing game (hooks, description of preceding adventures, ways to fit into an established campaign setting)
- Setting Description
- Character Descriptions
- Pre-Readied Character Speech
- Pre-Readed NPC/Monster Action descriptions
- NPC/Monster Statistic Blocks
- GM Meta-Advice on ways to introduce/handle certain situations
- Custom Adventure-Specific Rules
- Treasure Tables (and other tables of random possibilities)
- Lists of possible results for information-finding attempts (possible rumors uncovered, knowledge known on a subject, clues uncovered in a room)
- Suggested extra media for a given scene or story (music, movie clips, links to videos available online, etc)
- Scene illustrations
- Images of characters (consider both illustrations and photographs)
- Adventure/encounter flow charts (to help organize the progression of the story along possible paths of action)
- Illustrations of opponents / monsters
- Maps (small-scale and broad geographical)
- Relationship diagrams (family trees, rivalries, political organizations)
- Formatting elements (background or border images and patterns, etc)
Good work, MythWeaver!
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
If you have any questions or concerned, feel free to drop a comment here or visit the gang at our official forum. Are you stuck and need some ideas for a slick mechanic or neat plot twist? The WoAdWriMo forum is full of talented people ready to offer a hand!
Monday, June 4, 2007
First, please let us know! We want to sing your praises! Drop a comment here or at the WoAdWriMo forum, or send an email to me personally. If you want us to host the adventure so that other may download, please send me a copy in an email. We're trying to get an automatic uploader set up on the WoAdWriMo Adventure home, but so far it is not ready. We'll let you know when we have that up and running.
If you want to host your adventure elsewhere, please provide us with a link so we can pass it on to others. We want people to see all your hard work, and we want GMs interested in your module to be able to find it. Maybe you want to try to sell your work, instead of making it available for free download. If you find a buyer, please keep us informed of the details. We'll help get the word out to prosepctive buyers.
Friday, June 1, 2007
Here are some links to people already participating!
Jeffrey (some graphics here NSFW)
all the gang at our official forum
If you have links to other participants, please let us know!