View Full Version : Module Structure

2010-08-30, 09:06 PM
I'm trying to write an RPG Module (4 hour game slot) for a local Con our friends host, and I am absolutley terrible at writing a structured plot that characters could follow and will fit in the fime frame.

I'm looking for advice on game structure. I have no particular plan on system, though I've had ideas from pirates (RISUS System), to investigating missing campers (World of Darkness System), to dragon orphanages (GURPS System). The point is, in structuring an adventure, what should you plan on as a basic plot template to keep an interesting game running smoothly. I would prefer an emphasis on non-combat, and even a game with almost no combat would be fine.

I've read books, run pre-written modules, but nothing I create seems to flow well. Any suggestions?


2010-08-30, 09:44 PM
Well, in my experience, a good way to fill up some time in a purely non-combat scenario, and heavily engage all the players, is to pre-make the character and just put them at odds. Not at-odds in a violent way, but just put their interests in conflict.

So, for instance, have the game be centered around a Roman (or some analogous fantasy race) Senate Hall. There is unrest in previously subjugated barbarian lands distressingly close to Rome.

The Aristocrat's Party want to lead a swift and violent military campaign to quell any potential uprising (and also to line the pockets of the Roman elite from the ensuing spoils).

The People's Party are in opposition. They want to keep the military at home where it can protect the people and help deal with the recently rising crime rate.

The Moderates are, of course, undecided at the time.

One character is a posh, arrogant nobleman with absolutely no regard for the lives of people beneath his station. He, of course, is part of the Aristocrat's Party and wants to go to war.

One character is a gruff war veteran who achieved senator status after many decorated military victories. He wants to keep the Roman military at home both for tactical reasons (what if there is more trouble while the bulk is off gallivanting across the barbarian countryside?) and personal reasons. He has a wife and child now and doesn't want to risk being sent back out to aid the war effort.

One character is the Tribune. He has the power to veto rulings and must be there to officially begin or end any legally binding Senatorial sessions. He otherwise has no particular interest one way or the other in the debate.

One character is the leader of the Moderate party. Since majority rules in the Senate, he holds a lot of power. Basically, whichever party he sides with will probably win. Otherwise, he can be swayed either way.

Now, throw in some intrigue. The Moderate Leader slept with the Tribune's wife a week ago, and the Noblemen knows about it, but no one else does. The Veteran secretly has the connections to privately raise a formidable legion or two within a little more than a month's time if he had the mind to. The Moderate has the key to the Tribune's private residence, given to him by the Tribune's wife, and he happens to have a few assassins on the payroll. Etc.

Just let the chaos unfold, and you might not have to do much GMing at all after the first few minutes. Once you get them throwing violent curses at one another, only for a new secret to be revealed and new lines of alliance to be drawn, and new curses to be thrown, they'll be doing all the work.

Obviously don't let them see each others' sheets, and encourage them to lie, scheme, pass notes, and make stuff up on the fly (which you can decide, as GM, if its suddenly true or if they're just straight lying).

2010-08-31, 06:10 AM
That's how these games usually end up. All characters are pre-generated, and players pick either selectively or at random. Then, they have their section on the back of the sheet that's their personal information and what they think of the other characters.

A great method of role playing and fun, but not a real story. I wouldn't mind a story based soley around their interaction, and games like that are fun, but as a first time "REAL" GM module, I'd like something that flows with a plot a little more.

Thanks for the suggestion though.