Writing your own adventure for a table top game may seem easy enough. While an adventure filled with all sorts of action, excitement and treasure is the best thing for a group of friends gathered around a table reveling in the camaraderie of the unknown, it is in actuality very hard to create. Throwing your heroes against wave after wave of lower level enemies, or a single opponent much bigger than they are, is no fun for either the players or you. While it may be funny to watch an elephant use a low level wizard to bash a hole in the wall, it probably would not be nearly as much fun for your friends if it happens every time.
In order to avoid writing adventures which are unenjoyable for everyone, here are some tips on turning your ideas into tales:
Study the Game:
A good way to write solid and enjoyable adventures is to study. Studying does not mean memorizing every rule for every possible situation that may come up. It is not necessary to read the rule books cover to cover, memorizing every rule, before you even begin to play. The books will still be there for you to reference in game, but you should still have a basic understanding of how the game works. Once you have played through a few pre-made adventures, it is much easier to understand how to set up your own because at the very least you have a model to work with.
Look for Inspiration Everywhere:
Another suggestion is to read books related to your gaming style. If it’s a fantasy setting, read fiction. If it’s D20 Modern, read Sci-Fi. Use the world around you as your inspiration. Be open to anything and everything, because you never know when that new great idea will hit, or what you will be doing when it does. Read a book, sit outside under a tree, or sit at your window and watch the rain come down. There are all sorts of ideas out there, trying desperately to be molded into something tangible.
TALK To Your Players:
Above all, talk to your players. While the adventure may be your story, your players are the ones who have to live it. If you have a party of adventures who love causing chaos wherever they go, you might not want to use them to restore order to a kingdom or location caught in civil war. Find out what type of characters they want to play, and try and find a way to join them together. Short adventures are easy enough, but if you are doing a long campaign, the characters need a reason to stick around. Your players are going to need a reason to become invested in a long campaign. Reasons like a few Non-Player Characters they have met who saved their skins once or twice, or perhaps a dedication to a goal or ideal far greater than themselves.
Good luck and happy gaming!