And then the adventure hooks began…

Part of the reason this blog exists is my decision that my writing needs work. I’m not a fan. I don’t like to practice it. I don’t really like to do it. That said, it’s a skill I want to cultivate, so this blog is the result. One other result is that I pay attention to writing advice from others, like Mark Laidlaw. Last week, Mark had this observation:

It got me to thinking – he’s absolutely right. But more importantly, the principle can be applied to create really memorable adventures! Just as with Mark’s advice, we’re going to combine two items to create the basis for our adventures: a setting and the “hook.”

 The first part is easy! Take any setting within your current campaign. It doesn’t have to be unique or special. In fact, some of the best settings for this approach are simple windows into every day life. Examples might include:
  • The town of Errinbur was celebrating the annual spring festival.
  • Old man Baker and his sons had just finished bringing in the cattle for the night.
  • The pit of despair served as Malekor’s dungeon for time immemorial.
  • The seaside city of Salacia enjoyed great prosperity thanks to their position as a convenient hub for other cities in the empire.
The “hook” is the fun part of the approach. The hook can be any simple statement that implies a change that creates drama, tension or action. “And then the murders began” is just one example. Here are a few others:
  • And then the sky fell dark…
  • But this would be the the last day.
  • And then the invaders came…
  • But that was before the bloom.
What’s great about this approach is that you can mix and match freely. Taking two at random from our previous lists (seriosously, I just rolled 2d4):
Old man Baker and his sons had just finished bringing in the cattle for the night. A nd then the invaders came…
Boom. Instant plot. This can be really useful if you’re stuck trying to figure out a quick adventure or one-shot where tying it to a larger campaign isn’t necessary. The most important thing is to have fun with it and just run with where the prompt takes you!

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