Monday, August 2, 2021

RPGaDay Challenge 2021 - SCENARIO

What an excellent first prompt.

A quintessential element of Tabletop Role-Playing Games and one about which I and likely many other gamers have definitive thoughts about. 

It's probably no surprise that I approach Scenarios a little differently from the majority of my fellow Gamemasters. Before I address exactly what goes into my Scenario design, I think it's helpful to define what a Scenario is.

First, what is the actual meaning of the word independent from its RPGaming connotations. According to, Scenario means:

  • An outline of the plot of a dramatic work, giving particulars as to the scenes, characters, situations, etc.
  • The outline or the manuscript of a motion picture or television program, giving the action in the order in which it takes place, the description of scenes and characters, etc.
  • An imagined or projected sequence of events, especially any of several detailed plans or possibilities: 'One scenario calls for doubling profits by increasing our advertising, the other by reducing costs.'

What I find really interesting about these definitions is that all of them sort of relate to how RPGs use the term but there isn't a single one that nails it exactly. Don't get me wrong, that totally makes sense as these meaning weren't intended to be used by gamers. They were meant for normal speech by regular people. Game-Speak is a whole other animal. 

A gaming Scenario is essentially an Adventure intended to be played through by a GM and a group of players that consists of various combat encounters, discoveries, role-playing scenes,  and other bits that challenge all involved. 

The key thing for me is that all of the above definitions use terms like 'outline' or 'imagined or projected'. This fits with my idea of making sure Scenarios in my own campaigns aren't rigid, inflexible, or even overly specific. My Scenarios tend to have a more general, big picture overview, with the details and specifics being variable.

For many of my games I don't really write Adventures or Scenarios in the traditional sense. I have ideas as to which NPCs are up to what, where they are located now or where they are headed, and then sprinkle in various means and ways the PCs can find out about all this. As such, I am totally open to the players/PCs checking out other people, places, and ideas found in the world setting. PCs can go off script in my Scenarios because, simply put, there isn't a script. 

Entry 1 - Scenario

Barking Alien. 

1 comment:

  1. You have a solid approach - we've seen it in your session reports. A loose outline, a map with some notes, knowing your NPCs without needing a detailed script for everything - this all works pretty well for most people and most games.