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Steve Townshend on Adventure Design

by Mike Shea on 16 April 2012

In mid March 2012, I had the opportunity to spend an hour discussing adventure design with D&D freelancer Steve Townshend, author of Madness at Gardmore Abbey, the Monster Vault 2, the Monster Manual 3, and Heroes of the Feywild.

You can listen to the entire adventure design talk in mp3 (67 minutes, 69 mb). You can hear a bunch more podcasts like this at the Critical Hits Podcast archive.

Steve has some excellent practical tips for designing great adventures. Here were his top three:

  1. Build adventures based on the backstory of the PCs.
  2. Build great NPCs to motivate the PCs and build out the story.
  3. When planning an adventure, ask three questions: Where should it end? Where does it begin? Finally, what moves the group between these spots?

Steve discusses his concept for making three things happen on his blog.

Other topics in this recording include building lovable NPCs, how to build an ending for a sandbox adventure, how to draw more of a story out of tactical players, the definitions of a campaign, acting tips for DMs, and a lot more.

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Check out Mike's books including Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master, the Lazy DM's Workbook, Fantastic Adventures, and Fantastic Adventures: Ruins of the Grendleroot.

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