Browsing Archive: February, 2021

Skills Don't Do Things

Posted by Ron Lundeen on Sunday, February 28, 2021, In : RPGWriterTips 
Here's a short reminder for your RPG writing: skills aren't actors. They don't take actions. Saying, "A successful DC 15 Engineering check brings the machine back to operation," or "A successful DC 15 Sense Motive check exposes the lie," are both wrong, because a skill can't "bring" or "expose" things.

The thing that slips in the most often is when the skill use "shows" or "reveals" something, as in: "A successful DC 15 Survival check reveals red mud in the footprints." You'll sometimes see ph...

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Structuring an Investigation, Part 4

Posted by Ron Lundeen on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, In : RPGWriterTips 
I've talked a lot recently about how to structure an extended investigation. An example of one is in my PF1 adventure, A Lucky Morning (which you can get right here).

To be more than a little bit spoilery, that adventure is about an evil necromancer getting revenge on a former adventuring group that shunned him. He's killing off the group's former members, and he doesn't care who he kills along the way. The adventure begins with the heroes waking up in the private rooms of a big inn, coming do...

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Structuring an Investigation, Part 3

Posted by Ron Lundeen on Thursday, February 18, 2021, In : RPGWriterTips 
We’re building an extended investigation scene! In Part 1, I talked about how to break down the investigation items into things the heroes must learn, and things the heroes might learn. In Part 2, I talked about the work to support the GM: ensuring your investigation meets your XP and treasure budget, and the best order to present things to make it easier on the GM. Now, we’re getting to how to present things for the players.

This is the step that takes the longest, because it involves th...

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Structuring an Investigation, Part 2

Posted by Ron Lundeen on Friday, February 12, 2021, In : RPGWriterTips 
When I last posted, I described how to structure an extended investigation. In short, you need to start with your core adventure design. Decide what things your heroes must learn in the investigation; your adventure simply can't proceed unless they learn these two or three (or however many) things. Then decide what things they might learn in the investigation that would be helpful but not mandatory; maybe there's two to four of these. You made your list of "musts" and a list of "mights."

What...

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Structuring an Investigation, Part 1

Posted by Ron Lundeen on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, In : RPGWriterTips 
It's often fun--and sometimes necessary--to put an investigation scene into an adventure. You're going through three layers to create one:

* Your adventure design, which requires the heroes find out one or several things.
* Your presentation to the GM, who must understand how to get the players to what they need to understand.
* The players, who must find the investigation engaging and useful.

This is not easy! 

It helps to work on these from top to bottom, and I'm going to talk about writing each...

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About Me


I'm Ron Lundeen, developer for Paizo, Inc., active gamer, and RPG freelancer. I've recently had products in print for Paizo, Wizards of the Coast, Raging Swan, Open Design, Headless Hydra Games, and Rite Publishing. I'm still taking freelance writing assignments, but also focusing on writing for Run Amok Games.


 

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