Creating an Adventure: Part 1

 

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The process of creating an Adventure in Unchained Heroes starts out just like in any other game system. You must have a story seed and build it into an Adventure. I will walk through this process for you here. Adventures are based on the Five Encounter Rule where you make Five Encounters, one of which must be a Major Encounter with the rest being at least Standard Encounters. When we come up with our story seed, we will build 5 Encounters based on it.

This is Part One of a Series of posts.  When the Series is finished, we will have a full Adventure that you can download. The final Adventure should be available by the end of September.

Planting a Seed

Starting with the Story Seed, we need to come up with a 3-5 sentence synopsis that will give us a theme and direction. We want to make this a level 1 Adventure, so we will keep it small scale and save the campaign defining moments for the future. Here it is:

The Imperial Floating Citadel where you have been held with other prisoners has crashed to the ground on Peloria. You, along with many others, have used the opportunity to acquire your previous gear and valuables along with a few extras. The Imperials are in disarray. Other prisoners are making a break for it, so now is your chance to make it out of here. Your know you are close to a safe house where you can hole up against the invasion. If you can make it there, you should be able to lay low for a while.

With that story seed you have a quite a lot to build upon. If you wanted to make this a campaign, you can continue the good fight against the Red Empire’s Imperial Navy or it could be a simple break free and run. We are not going to make that decision for you here, we are just going to give you the escape sequence.

Five Encounter Rule

Now it is time to start building the Encounters. The Five Encounter Rule for an Adventure states the following:

  • An Adventure consists of at least Five Encounters, one of which should be a Major or Critical Encounter and the rest being Standard Encounters. (Unchained Heroes Fantasy Core Rulebook page 283)

I know that I want to establish a possible recurring Villain for the Players, so we are going to make a Major Encounter with an Elite Imperial Hunter named Petra Kellis. Petra was particularly harsh on you and yours while in the prison. She has three hounds that accompany her everywhere named Gavros, Kavros, and Drugos. When you all got in the way of her and her hounds having “fun” with a fellow prisoner, she never forgave you. So the Major Encounter will be:

  • Confrontation with Petra and her Hounds (Major Encounter)

Then we need to make some Standard Encounters. It is a best practice to use the Encounters to plot out the story, so let’s look at our overall adventure arc and decide where we are going to insert Encounters.

Encounters based on the Story

The first scene is going to be the Player Characters sitting around in the rubble of the Floating Citadel, a little battered and bruised, but no worse for wear. They are going to have to make a decision. There are Imperial Gray Guards rounding up prisoners for work gangs to try to salvage what can be salvaged while trying to stop any escapees. They will need to make the decision on how they are going to get out of here. How they make free of the crash site is up to them.

Once free of the Crash Site, the players are going to be in the Pelorian Wilderness about 2 miles into the Scalar Forest, just north of Caprin on Peloria’s Western edge. They are going to need to navigate to the safe house–an Inn named the Clockwork Gryphon–that is Southeast of their position.

 

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Their trip will be hounded by Petra, Imperial Gray Guards, and opportunistic Goblins that are preying on the stragglers of the crash. We will be adding 4 additional Encounters; the combat in all of them may be avoided–except for the Encounter with Petra.

Here are the remaining Encounters:

  • Avoid or Confront the Imperial Gray Guards at the Crash Site (Standard Encounter)
  • Get bearings and plot a proper course through the Scalar Forest for the Clockwork Gryphon Inn (Standard Encounter)
  • Avoid or Confront the Goblin Ambushers within the Scalar Forest (Standard Encounter)
  • Avoid or Confront the Hounds of Petra set to follow your trail (Standard Encounter)

Summarize with an Outline

When I am Creating an Adventure, I like to make an Outline to sum things up for the GM in a quick bulleted list. Here it goes:

  • Scene #1: Players are fully equipped and ready to escape the Crash Site of the Imperial Floating Citadel where they were detained for the past few days.
    • In the Scalar Forest, 2 miles north of Caprin on the continent of Peloria
    • Plan is to head to the Clockwork Gryphon as a safe house.
    • Avoid or Confront the Imperial Gray Guards at the Crash Site (Standard Encounter) to get free.
  • Scene #2: Players are within the Scalar Forest which is thick with dense tree growth and must get their bearings before heading to the Clockwork Gryphon that should be just over a day away.
    • Get bearings and plot a proper course through the Scalar Forest for the Clockwork Gryphon Inn (Standard Encounter)
  • Scene #3: Travelling through the Scalar Forest has its perils, one of which is an opportunistic group of Goblins that are preying upon the crash victims.
    • Avoid or Confront the Goblin Ambushers within the Scalar Forest (Standard Encounter)
  • Scene #4: Within the Scalar Forest, there is a sense you are being followed as you pass through the forest to the Clockwork Gryphon.
    • Possibly attacked in the night by Hounds of Petra
    • Could throw the Hounds off your scent in some way
    • Avoid or Confront the Hounds of Petra set to follow your trail (Standard Encounter)
  • Scene #5: Shortly before reaching the edge of the forest, Petra catches up to you and has made this a personal. She will do anything in her power to hinder you and feed you to her Hounds. She won’t sacrifice her life or the life of her animals however.
    • Confrontation with Petra and her Hounds
  • Scene #6: Arrival at the Clockwork Gryphon.

Next Time

When next we talk about Creating an Adventure, we will break down the Encounters in more details as well as set up some of the scenes. Until next time!

 

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