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Developing Adventures and Great NPCs

The adventure is the reason why your PCs want to run the campaign. I find there are two ways to write a campaign:

  • Single Point of View

  • Open-Ended


Single Point of View

A Single Point of View is a campaign where a straightforward task is established at the beginning of the game, such as the following:

  • Monster Hunt

  • Searching for Treasure

  • Rescuing someone

  • Solving a puzzle

  • Stealing something

Each encounter you have in the game is there to support and reinforce the single point of view of the adventure. Several of my campaigns follow this structure, such as The Dark Nun's Church and The Thirteenth Hour (the Holiday Special will also follow this structure). It is a suitable campaign format that can be played in one session.

Open-Ended

The Werewolves of London and The Mad Lab take the foundation established with a Single Point of View campaign and make it open-ended. For these games, I write three ways the campaigns can be run, which lead to each encounter having a different twist. Adding in side-quests continues to expand the world in which you are emerging your PCs.

Non-Player Characters

Knitting all the stories together are Non-Player Characters (NPCs). As a writer of Penny Blood Adventures, I have realized that there are two audiences for NPCs: The DM and me, the writer. NPCS are not new, and their role for DMs to help move the storyline forward is well documented. What has surprised me over the last few months as I have been writing the Penny Blood Adventures is how important NPCs are to the writer. Before you start to write even your first encounter, spend some time and outline who the NPCs the PCs will encounter in your game. Your NPC should have the following:

  • What is their backstory? Why are they in the setting you have established for your game?

  • What is their personality? Do they have any quirks like they talk very fast or they like to use puns?

  • What motivates the NPC? Does the NPC have a reason for why they are in your game? Maybe the main antagonist has sent them to sew dissent among the PCs.

Developing your NPCs will influence how you write the encounters you create in your game.

Let me know if these comments inspire you to write your campaigns and start a kick-starter campaign. Use the comments below for questions, or join other Penny Blood Adventurers on Discord.

--Matt

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