Adventure Writer’s Room
We are a group of GMs who meet in the discord voice chat, and challenge ourselves to improvise a one-shot adventure in 2 hours. Our goal is to brainstorm fun ideas and improvise stories together in a chill, lighthearted, no-pressure environment. It works, it really helps with creating adventures, and it is super fun.
We’re looking for some friendly and creative people to join us! If you want to improvise some stories, stretch your creative muscles, get help writing your adventures, or just have some fun brainstorming ideas - come join our discord server!
Novice people are welcome! There are no prerequisites, no expectations about being a brilliant writer or improviser. Experienced GMs are also welcome, we have quite a few very experienced folks who are really good at what they do, and it helps a lot. If you’re a player with no GMing experience and this sounds like fun - come join us as well!
We create adventures by playing a collaborative storytelling game. We organize a brainstorming session, meet in the discord voice chat, and challenge ourselves to improvise a one-shot adventure in 2 hours.
We do this by filling in the brainstorming template together. This template contains the list of questions that will guide us through the brainstorming process. We copy it into a new google doc editable by everyone in the group, and fill it with our ideas.
We go through the process of creating an adventure step by step, one part of adventure at a time - idea, antagonist, setting, challenges, etc. For every step, we make a list of ideas. We briefly discuss them, and pick our favorite ones.
Then we try to combine these ideas together into a story that makes sense. After a while the process becomes less structured and more freeform - we’re trying to fill in the gaps, enhance the ideas we have, find answers to the remaining questions, and turn it all into a complete outline of an adventure.
To get a better sense of how this works, watch Brandon Sanderson doing something similar in his fantasy writing class.
If everything goes great, at the end of the session we have a draft/outline of an awesome adventure that gives us all the information we need to run it for our players.
After the session we can use the Adventure Template to summarize our ideas, clean up our draft, make our adventure easy to prep and run. We can also playtest the adventure - it will help us improve it and come up with more cool ideas.
The completed adventures are collected here, available to everyone on the internet for free, under Creative Commons license.
We focus on creating system-agnostic, low-combat, one-shot adventures. Straightforward and self-contained stories that you can adapt to any system, drop into your campaign as a quest, or play on their own. Please avoid discussing mechanics until the end of the session - it’s easy to add the stats and combat encounters later, after we have created the story.
Do your best to “Yes And” people’s ideas. Don’t shut down ideas - build on top of them, add something new, find a way to make them work, make them better. See if you can combine multiple ideas on the list into something new and exciting.
If you’re struggling to come up with an idea - use one from your favorite Movie, Game, or a TV show. Use the writing prompts tool if you need some help.
Mix and match tropes. Combine two different movies/characters/settings/plots. Try to add an unusual/unexpected twist to an idea. Reverse one of its key aspects of the idea, switch the genre, setting, goal, important character traits, etc.
Try to contribute at least one idea to every step of the writing process. Doesn’t have to be the most brilliant one, even the simple/obvious ideas can be very helpful and lead to something interesting.
Try to keep the discussion focused, try to keep every step of brainstorming under 10-20 minutes. It’s better to pick a random idea and roll with it than to get stuck trying to make a decision. If we find it difficult to choose the idea we want to focus on - we vote on it or roll the dice to pick a random one. If you notice that people are getting distracted, stuck, or too caught up in the details - try to steer the conversation back on track, encourage everyone to make a decision and move on to the next step of the writing process.
Read about the elements and structure of the adventure here. Watch Brandon Sanderson’s writing course. Listen to this excellent guide on screenwriting - it is extremely applicable to writing adventures, and it’s the most brilliant summary of storytelling theory I’ve ever heard.
Session Guide - running your own sessions
The Session Guide is the person who announces and runs the brainstorming session. Their goal is to guide people through the adventure creation process, keep the conversation on track, and do their best to make sure that we will be able to create a complete story within a reasonable amount of time (1-3 hours).
Anyone who has participated in a few sessions and gained some experience with the process is welcome to take initiative, announce, and run their own sessions.
It’s best to limit the group size to 2-4 people. That way everyone has enough time to speak and contribute, things stay more manageable, and the process moves forward faster.
During the most sessions we create a new adventure from scratch, as a group. If you’re working on your own adventure and need some help - we can run a brainstorming session to help you out.
The authors of the adventure (everyone who has participated in brainstorming) own the rights to the ideas created during the session. They have the right to decide whether the adventure will be published and to have their name in the list of credits.
If you are working on your own adventure, want to keep the complete intellectual property rights to it, and are running the session to get help with brainstorming - discuss this in advance, make it clear before the session begins.
Code of Conduct
Be good to others, don’t do excessive self promotion, try to stay PG-13, and avoid bringing up subjects that make people uncomfortable (real-world politics, religion, sex, etc). Don’t talk over other people during the sessions. Make sure everyone gets a chance to speak without being interrupted. Encourage everyone to participate, if you notice someone being interrupted - ask them what they were going to say.
Questions and Feedback
I’m still trying to figure things out. If you have questions, feedback, or ideas on how to improve our process - let me know! (