Updated: Nov 16
If you are ready for an adventure, check out this role-playing game, by self-described gaming geek, Chris Hanson. The following is from an interview we had with Chris about his experiences with gaming and roleplaying.
When did you first start roleplaying?
I got my first taste of role-playing in 1977 when a friend’s older brother gathered a few of us together and pulled out a book with a blue cover, a drawing of a dragon, and some adventurers on it. We jumped right into playing Dungeons & Dragons. I was already a sci-fi fan, so the transition to playing a burly fighter facing off against evil goblins, trolls, ogres, and dragons was easy and natural.
I continued to play D&D and other role-playing games (Traveler, Call of Cthulhu, Gamma World, etc.) with my friends through high school and even into college. Once I was working, married, and had children, it was difficult to find time to role-play. But I did keep all my old books.
What inspired you to create the Adventures in the Mystic Blue Mountains?
Once my children had grown, a young nephew started playing D&D. Since none of the family had played in years, I offered to be the Dungeon Master and run an adventure. I remembered back to that first game I played in ‘77 and we were adventurers captured by zealots and forced to mine blue crystals. I spent a couple of days learning the newest rules (5E) and broke out the graph paper. On game night I was rusty, but everyone seemed to have a good time.
Over the next few years, I continued to create and run adventures for the family. Each of them had a different theme and was received better than the last.
It was my wife that convinced me these adventures were good enough to be published in a book.
What is involved in creating these adventures?
There is a big difference between running an adventure for your friends and publishing for the gaming community.
If you are simply creating an adventure for your friends to play, you don’t need to spend much time writing up everything. Stick to a main plot, a short description of the important challenges/encounters, non-player characters, a selection of enemies that fit the theme, and maybe a few maps or handouts. Spending a lot of time detailing everything will be a waste as the players will do things that you don’t expect and change the game as they play.
In a larger world campaign, there is an expectation that players can make their own decisions on where to go and what to do. Forcing the characters down a single path has been defined in role-playing jargon as “railroading.”
When running just a single adventure, the Game Master has some leeway in controlling the direction of the story. Think of this as “guide rails”. Directing the characters, but still allowing them control over their actions within those constraints.
However, if you are planning to publish, then you must put more time and effort into capturing details such as: describing the environment, defining non-characters and their motivations, potential dialog, enemy stat blocks, variable encounters based on party size, and detailed maps. There are also things from a publishing standpoint that you must consider: format of the document, table of contents and appendixes, illustrations, proper citation of game licenses, etc.
I learned so much from transforming my notes from each of these adventures into something that can be published for use by others.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into roleplaying for the first time?
You don’t need to be great at accents and you don’t have to dress up, but you do need to commit to playing the part. It may feel awkward and a bit embarrassing at first, but everyone else in the group who is new also feels the same way. Just jump in and do it.
You can watch videos of people role-playing (e.g., Critical Role, Dimension20), but don’t expect to be great at it when you first start. Don’t let that stop you. With practice, you will get better. Just remember, the intent is to have fun.
When you are creating your first character, look to stereotypes/archetypes to help you. What would Aragorn or Conan do when facing a large group of enemies? How would Lando Calrissian talk his way out of a jam? Once you get more familiar with your character, he/she will start to become your own creation.
What’s next? Are you working on any new projects?
I have started branching out into other genres than fantasy. Most recently, I ran a pirate adventure. Historically accurate in the location and timeframe, but with an undercurrent of mysticism and monsters.
I am preparing this for publication, but it takes more work than just relying on standard D&D adventure themes and characteristics because of all the historical background and changes to gameplay (e.g., firearms, ships, types of magic) that are involved in a more realistic/less fantasy style game. I expect it to be finished sometime in 2024.
This compendium contains four beginning level adventures for players new to roleplaying or for those more experienced players searching for an engaging scenario requiring little preparation. These campaigns are designed for first through fourth level characters and use the rules and universe established by the world’s greatest roleplaying game.
Each of the campaigns provided is ready to deploy, including back-ground information, non-player character and monster stats, maps, and other suggestions for the Game Master. They can be run in succession as part of a larger adventure, or as stand-alone campaigns.
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