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Running Missions and Quest Chains

by Mike on 25 March 2024

This article is one in a series where we look at types of adventures and examine

These articles include:

Your own adventure types and how you run them may differ from mine. That's totally fine. There are many right ways to enjoy this game.

Robin Laws's book Adventure Crucible – Building Stronger Scenarios for any RPG inspired my thoughts on this topic.

Understanding Missions and Quest Chains

In mission-based adventures the characters accomplish several goals across a series of scenes. The scenes may be linear or run in a network where players choose different paths leading to different future missions.

Often mission-based adventures take several sessions, perhaps an entire campaign, to complete. Each leg of the mission might be its own adventure.

Each mission or quest of the quest chain might be small – like killing a fire giant boss at a burned out watchtower, acquiring one of several needed items, or getting information from the shady vendor in the Lower Reaches. In a series of wartime missions, the characters accomplish specific missions while war rages around them.

Missions might also be built so the characters attempt to accomplish tasks before the bad guys, or the characters face a rival group attempting to complete the same or parallel quests. This competition results in an ever-changing situation as both groups follow their chains of quests.

Some example missions include:

Preparing Mission-based Adventures

GMs may prepare for mission-based adventures by

Running Missions

When running mission-based adventures or campaigns, the GM should

Mission or Quest Chain Pitfalls

When running mission-based or quest-chain adventures, GMs might encounter the following pitfalls:

Avoiding Pitfalls

GMs can avoid these pitfalls by

A Common Adventure Style

Mission-based adventures are one of the most common styles of adventures. Hopefully these guidelines help you keep your mission-based adventures on track with meaningful choices, clear options, and dynamic situations.

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Last week I posted a couple of YouTube videos on Roll Twice and the Elven Orb – Shadowdark Gloaming Session 24 Lazy GM Prep.

Last Week's Lazy RPG Talk Show Topics

Each week I record an episode of the Lazy RPG Talk Show (also available as a podcast) in which I talk about all things in tabletop RPGs. Here are last week's topics with time stamped links to the YouTube video:

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Also on the Talk Show, I answer questions from Sly Flourish Patrons. Here are last week's questions and answers:

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Each week I think about what I learned in my last RPG session and write them up as RPG tips. Here are this week's tips:

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This work includes material taken from by Michael E. Shea available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license.

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