It is late at night now and I am thinking about what genre to pick for a GURPS adventure. I have run many different genres over the years and have had fun with all of them. I feel the need to revisit a Fantasy setting with heroic characters that must fight their way to greatness. Lately some of the old fantasy tropes have been running though my mind. I may use some of them.
Where to begin? I select some sort of setting for the players to start in. The setting is usually a town, city, wilderness or some other generic area. Which type of area is not always important, it just gives me a starting point for the adventure. I can describe the setting to myself and will make a map or two. I try to be descriptive as possible here because this is going to be the players initial entry into the adventure.
Once the setting has content I come up with a few scenarios that it fits into. The scenarios are going to be adventure hooks that the players can grab onto. The multiple choices give me a chance to see how the story can start. This is an important part for me in that the hooks can each progress the story in their own way. I will use the hooks to place in front of the characters at multiple points in the adventure. Depending on how the players react I may use one or all the hooks. When all the scenarios are down on paper I can start to see the main part of the story.
The main part of the story is sometimes vague and often changeable. This is the part of the adventure where the players have most of the say in the story. It is a collaborative storytelling experience at this point. Even though there are scenarios and hooks at the beginning, it is just to jump start the story. Once the players get to this point they are able to make the story their own. I will go with what the characters are trying to accomplish with the story. I let them place their own tracks and move the adventure along. After I get a feel for where they are going I place obstacles and story plots in their path.
The obstacles and story plots are something that I create in the beginning. My definition of obstacles are NPC’s, monsters and natural occurrences. The NPC’s I make are somewhat generic in that I can add background and specific character concepts once the players are heading in a direction. The addition of the story plots are for future adventures. These story plots are sometimes the unused plot hooks or new plot ideas gleaned during the adventure. When the characters overcome the obstacles in the story, it is usually the time the adventure or session comes to a stopping point.
When we started the players were in a place where the background and expectations were set. It all begins and they take on their roles and see how they fit into the story. The players then begin to move their characters forward until they find purpose in the adventure. Once they have that, they can figure out a way to deal with and overcome the unknown. They will encounter obstacles and learn more about why things are happening the way they are. In the end the characters feel as if they have conquered and learned more about themselves and the world in which they travel. That is the story that they tell.