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Developing a game in D&D

Over the last couple of years, I have developed a process that helps create authentic TTRPG campaigns. I thought I'd start a short series where I share how I go from an idea to a fully developed game that can be sold on KS. I will be delighted if this inspires you to write your games and sell them on KS.

I play and write D&D 5e, but the process below can be used for OSR and other TTRPG.

When I sit down to write a game, I have a single goal: I want to immerse the DM and players in the game world. For this to happen, you have to pay attention to a lot of little details. Over time, I have developed a list of things I need for a balanced game that includes:

· Story Hook - what is unique about the game

· Define the adventure and what motivates the players - what are the core themes for the game

· NPCs - why are these NPCs in the game?

· Maps - where does the action take place?

· Encounters - details, details, details

· Side Quests - sometimes, the players need a break from the primary campaigns, so give them the option

· Random Encounter - how to spice things up when the play is getting a little too easy

· Resolutions - how do you know you are done?

· Monsters - unique monsters for your game world

· Magic Items - unique magic items

· Game within a Game - make pubs and meeting places fun with dice, card, and other mini-games

· Food and Fuel - an army needs to be fed, and so do your PCs :)

I will share more details on each of these segments, but first, let's dive into the story hook.

Story Hook



The first stage in any game development is identifying a good story hook. Me, I love thrillers, classic horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. When I am thinking of a story hook, I will either take a twist on a classic story or mix two stories up. For instance, these are all story ideas I have jotted down:

- The Phantoms of the Opera

- No Man’s Land, a WW1 trench horror story

- X Mark’s the Spot, a pirate story where the island is made up of pirate ships

You get the idea. Your story hook needs to be compelling, and you need to explain it in one sentence. I am always looking for a reaction when I pitch a new idea, such as "oh, hell yes, I want to play that game.”

Get the story hook right, and the rest is easy.

--Matt

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