Hitting the ground running

Since I posted last time I have moved house, away from the coast and into a proper crofter’s cottage. Downsizing from a 5 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom cottage means that we are inevitably swamped with boxes of stuff we don’t know where to put.

In the world of Rolemaster, since my last post, I have released the third part of Plague, Famine & War and I am writing the November issue of the Fanzine. This will be a bit late due to the house move.

So this year I have been writing the RMu adventure path which could end up as 10 to 12 parts. Plague, Famine & War is already three parts and is likely to be four full adventures. What has got me exciting to do next is some one-page adventures.

A one-page adventure would have a hook at the top, a plot, a location with a great looking map, a series of encounters, a conclusion, and a reward. Everything would fit on two sides of a single sheet.

What this brings to the party (haha) is variety. As a one-page adventure would be much faster to write than a full module or even a mini-module I could play around a bit. I am thinking of finding a monster that is underused and making it the star of the show. Once you know the monster that will tell you where it is most likely to be found, so you have your location. I buy about 100 commercial maps each year, it will just be a case of picking the best map for the adventure. That gives us the primary monster, terrain/biome, and actual location. The biome gives us random encounters and environmental hazards.

All my adventures this year were for, or started with, starting out PCs. These one-page adventures could be for any level, that would really be dictated by the star of the show monster. As a single page and only a couple of days work these would be real pocket money price adventures. The advantage to the Rolemaster community and the whole system, in general, will be that the Rolemaster name will continue to feature on the front page of DriveThruRPG on a near-weekly basis. New players of the game will have, and almost as importantly, see new products released on a regular basis. This creates the impression of a lively community around a game and makes it more attractive to potential buyers. It could also attract more people into adventure writing. This is one of the things that Rolemaster needs.

There is no community license or open content, which does hobble adventure writers somewhat, but it is still possible to write for a closed system. The trade-off is that ICE do not support their community but they also earn nothing from that community’s efforts. The other alternative would be that ICE do support the community and then take a royalty from all the content produced. Swings and roundabouts of course. Only ICE can say what they are thinking.

Hopefully, next week I will be back to regular writing. My gaming weekend is looming and I am looking forward to all the things that it throws up that I can write about, both as GM and as a player.

8 Replies to “Hitting the ground running”

  1. So far, the two, theoretically one (or two) page, adventures I have written have ended up noticeably longer. Despite me taking a look at quite a few different types of 1-2 page adventures first.

    (Moving house can be a pain.)

    1. My first attempt ran to 22,000 words and 10 locations (using Dyson Logos maps). There is definitely a skill to it but it will be fun to learn.
      We all own so much stuff. Even packing up the kitchen produced 7 big boxes of ‘stuff’. Where it came from, I have no idea. This kitchen has more draws and cupboards than the last one which we have filled and yet there is more stuff!

      1. It’s something I mean to have another go out. I think it requires not fleshing out the adventure more than intended. There are other tricks to reduce length; AAW’s mini dungeons don’t include stats, instead linking to online SRDs.

        My next move will be a pain. I didn’t do the sort-out that I did on the previous two, so there’s stuff stuck in the loft that has never been gone through in years. My biggest collection of stuff is very definitely books.

        1. This is my second move in 7 months so I had not accumulated much, Mrs R on the other hand appears to have been singlehandedly supporting the Shetland economy.

          1. It’s getting on for two decades since I last moved, and in between we’ve had a flood. Getting ready to move next time will not be fun.

  2. I appreciate the hard work (especially in the middle of a move), and couldn’t agree more with you about the surprising lack of any community support from ICE. Not that they can give a lot (given the limited resources they work from) but something as simple as basic usage guidelines would be more than what we have now.

    The RPG world is vastly different than 20 years ago, and lets just hope they realize that. Having good, quality, third party efforts (like yours and others) is essential nowadays, and almost cost free, but we’ll see. Truthfully though, I do hold out some hope, in that there seems to be some recognition that there needed to be some kind of entryway into RMu. I do see some effort in that direction; 1) giving Terry the ok for some small module work, and 2) that Priest King seems to be in the official queue as well. We’ll never know how much effect the discussion of this issue here and on the ICE forums impacted that decision, but at least the issue seems to be acknowledged or recognized.

    Thanks again. Been printing, binding and reading through Fanzine 13-30, so can’t wait for the next one.

    1. Wow, I like the idea of printing and binding!
      If you ho to those lengths would you like to see more or less art? More or less colour?
      I don’t get much feedback so although I think about these things I never know which to implement.

  3. I’d never thought of it before either, until I found an $20 binder on shopgoodwill.com. I find it’s easy to take and read them when they are bound too, as I find better retention with paper than pdf. Cheap if lost, easy to mark up, and I can replace pages if they are torn or damaged (say coffee or players tears). =D

    Besides, it works well, especially for what I need. Saved my bacon while running RMu early this year, as I was constantly making changes to my guides, as well as the player printouts. I found it easy to unbind, remove and replace pages, then rebind and yet still have it look neat at the end.

    Not sure if this will help you, and maybe I take things a bit far, but I lay mine out special when I print for binding. Fortunately my printers support an offset for binding (left increased by .10 to .25 depending). I also face pages, so with Fanzine #30 I split the print job up into 10 separate print step: 1,2,3,4,5-8,9-10,11-23,24-28,29,30. Each step gets a front facing page, and everything else is either blank (with single page steps), or duplexed on back (for blocks of pages). Why? well, as I looked at old modules, the ones that stuck in my mind had front-facing eye candy. =)

    I do print the front page in color (or colour for our British friends), but as we all know it’s’ expensive to print a lot of (laser at any rate). For ME, I like the color, but emphasizing color for colours sake seems a waste of precious time.

    Hope that helps somehow.

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