Adventure in a Can

Yesterday, I briefly touched on a new experience with what I refer to as canned adventures. That is adventures written by someone else, typically with the idea of selling it to people who buy the rule sets. The thing is, I don’t think they’re really worth the cost of buying a new one for every session you want to play. Aside from severely limiting yourself, you’re also letting someone else determine your parties abilities for you. After a few sessions, no one should be able to tell you better what your adventuring party is capable of than you. It did share some other secrets.

The first thing I realized I wasn’t doing was creating scenes. The game had scenes prepared to be used as I needed them. In the canned adventure, I used about three of these prepared scenes. The others would have made the solution to the adventure more obvious if they had needed it. My players were on point that day and understood every part of the puzzle within minutes.

This made me realize I had a tendency not to explain the situational problems as well as I, perhaps, should in all of my adventures. The problem being I’d forget about certain weaknesses or key elements in the heat of the moment. Having everything written for the canned adventure made things much simpler. If I forgot a point of interest, or a detail, I had good source material to fall back on. This isn’t exactly a new idea to me, but it help me differentiate the points really worth talking about.

One thing I did realize that I did better was provide a set of rules for all the NPC’s in my campaign. The canned adventure had four characters written up, which was great, but when I needed to make a test of strength between a player and an evil, possessed cat, I had no rules to fall back on. Fortunately, my bullshit skill is well developed and I pulled something out of my ass that only vaguely smelled of fecal matter. When I create my own adventures, I always find a set of skills and stats for all the creatures inhabiting it, even if I have to make them up myself.

I’ve thought about writing canned adventures, but canning seems like a lot of pressure.


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