Monday, January 23, 2017

Adding Too Much to My Adventure. When is Enough...ENOUGH?

Well, what was supposed to be a quick mini-dungeon using the DAGGER FOR KIDS rules turned into a bigger beast than I had originally planned. My daughter is getting impatient.

I’ve been promising her another round of dungeon crawling for quite some time now, but I have a couple things holding me back: First, my time is limited, so I end up writing at oddball hours and making little headway. Second, I keep wanting to add MORE to the adventure. Meaning, I am slowly walking up the downward escalator.

Sure, I could run her through what is essentially an outline of the adventure (DAGGER is pretty good at on-the-fly ideas), but my need to have all the “t’s” crossed is dragging the creative process out. Plus, dammit, I want this dungeon to be cool…or at least something that will add to her already-piqued interest in playing more and more.

As a side note, the DAGGER rules come with a cool introductory adventure titled “The Vile Worm”. Yes, it is a very tasty mini dungeon, but to me it came off WAY too brutish an adventure for a game meant for kids 5 and up. Again, I like the adventure a lot (and will, in fact, run it someday), but for my kid’s adventure I’m leaning more toward wizards, dragons, unicorns, and gold, and less about giant worms impregnating characters with eggs.  

I’ll wait until she’s 10 before I introduce dispiriting wormy chest-bursters into our games.

So as for my original DAGGER adventure, its working title is “The Disappearance of the Seasonmil Leprechauns”. Rockin’!

Initially, the dungeon was going to consist of a simple three-level tower with a total of 15 or so areas to explore. Complete with the missing leprechauns’ stolen pot o’ gold and the indispensable giant rainbow leading to it, Seasonmil sounds like a nifty mini module for little kids, yeah?

Well then, my head gets too involved, see? After all, the leprechauns’ tower is right outside the town of Seasonmil, which became more than a passing detail within the scenario. So now, with a little influence from Dave Bezio’s new Phoenix Barony setting, I’m developing the town as well. Also, doesn’t EVERY town have that one creepy abandoned house about a quarter mile into the woods? And don’t forget the centuries-old mines, which some of the town’s hunters found while out trapping food. Somehow, the tower, the house, and the mines are all connected and…AHHHH! More oddball hours and the escalator keeps moving…maybe a little faster now.

Let me quickly add that I’m not necessarily lifting things directly from the Phoenix Barony. No, I pilfer from Michael Curtis’ The Dungeon Alphabet. Hee hee! Yeah, I’m doing that. I don’t even care.

Also, I’m drawing in oodles of crazy inspiration from the new Black Pudding zine from James V West. Wow! What a fun piece this publication turned out to be. Even if I don’t use BP’s material directly, just flipping through the zine is brain nourishment for spawning creativity. True dat.

Sorry. Sidetracked.

Anyway, while I’m juggling all these ideas and pouring over my go-to books and blogs for inspiration to help complete this new adventure, my poor daughter just wants to kill some monsters with her dad. After all the promises I made to play with her, it’s time for me to step back and decide that enough is ENOUGH for this adventure and just get it finished.

So I’ll keep to the original idea of the adventure, which includes the three-level tower. I’ll minimize the town setting and strip out the creepy abandoned house and the mines. Those ideas can bloom into their own mini-modules someday.

For those of you who find pleasure in devising your own homebrew adventures, do you find it difficult to swat away fun ideas unnecessary to the main plot of the scenario? How are you able to focus and stay on target, allowing yourself to get an adventure written within a reasonable amount of time (or at least in time for your next gaming session)? OR, do you say “screw it!” and, timing be damned, add any and all awesome ideas that pop into your noggin while in the throes of dungeon writing?

For me, it’s difficult to put on the breaks, but if I don’t, I’ll NEVER get to play…and as a consequence, neither will my daughter.