Greetings, GURPSers, far and wide. I hope you enjoy the weekly feast of GURPSDay goodies out there today!
A few years back at Gateway 2014, I ran a game loosely based on the adventure “The Herbmaster’s Plea” from the back of the old GURPS: Bunnies & Burrows (which I previously wrote about and posted the characters for). It was one of the most fun games I’ve GMed in the past few years, a real highlight that I remember fondly, and I’ve always known I would do a sequel.
Well, I’ve been thinking about what to run at next month’s Orccon 2017 for a long time, and had quite a few ideas worth following up on — too many to easily decide, in fact. But then just before New Year’s I discovered that Richard Adams, author of the much-beloved “Watership Down,” passed away on Christmas Eve. Seems like the perfect time for a return to the warren and our bunny heroes.
This post is another in the Adventure Creation series, which came in third in the Game Geekery Reader Poll (voting is still open, if you’d like to chime in!). The steps I’ve been using to create previous adventures are:
- Step 0 – Perpetual Prep.
The total brainstorming phase of winnowing through all the ideas I’ve collected since the last con game and choosing the ones that fit best.
- Step 1 – What Is It?
The “elevator pitch,” a one- or two-line summation of what the game will be.
- Step 2 – What Happens?
An expansion of the summation above into a broad overview of the possible story — what’s happening, who is it happening to, what is the goal, etc.
- Step 3 – The Player Characters.
For me, this is the meat of the prep. The above steps exist to give me just enough of a framework to create fun PC pre-gens that fit the setting and story. (This is usually the end of the Part 1 post.)
- Step 4 – Adding Detail.
With a barebones story, setting, and characters, I fill in the details and outline the actual scenes. Things go from conceptual to concrete.
- Step 5 – Finalizing the Characters.
With a fuller knowledge of the adventure in hand, any changes needed to the first draft of the PCs are made.
- Step 6 – Final Details.
Cleaning everything up and last-minute revisions. Voila! Finished and ready to run.
As this is a sequel to an existing game, a lot of the work has already been done and these steps pass much more quickly.
Note that if you plan to play in this game at Orccon 2017, the below contains spoilers!
Step 0 – Perpetual Prep
As mentioned above, I had no shortage of ideas going into this con (including most of those listed in my Hell on Wheels post from Gateway 2016). But with the passing of Adams, I really wanted to return to the world of Bunnies & Burrows.
Step 1 – What Is It?
“Following the events of ‘Some Bunny Needs You,’ our intrepid bunny heroes are once again called upon to leave the relative safety of the home warren and meet the call to adventure.”
A bit generic, but that’s usual for this stage. For reference, the Step 1 pitches for previous series entries were:
- “A Grimjack game set in Cynosure.” (Orccon 2013)
- “A game where the PCs are members of the Warriors street gang from the 1979 movie.” (Gateway 2015)
- “As children sleep, they are vulnerable to nightmare creatures sent by the Boogeyman, who feeds on their fear. Luckily, every child has magical protectors to keep the forces of evil at bay.” (Gamex 2016)
Step 2 – What Happens?
Here and there over a couple of days, I jotted down some ideas I liked:
- Since their adventure in the first con game, the PCs are now respected and well-known members of the warren.
- A hare arrives at the warren seeking help. Though they are not a predator species, hares are mysterious loners to most rabbits. They don’t even live underground!
- For months now, the warren has lost many a careless rabbit to an enormous owl who hunts the area.
- The adventuring rabbits encounter a human road, and the remains of rabbits killed by passing metal monsters.
- The PCs must undertake one of the most terrifying things imaginable — going into a snake’s lair! Sort of the ultimate dungeon crawl for a rabbit. (I’m sure this came to mind because of many fond memories of the Rikki-Tikki-Tavi cartoon.)
A rough shape begins taking form. The PCs start the tale at the warren, a bit older and wiser, when a strange hare arrives needing their assistance. On their way to the story’s climax (whatever it may be), they must overcome a giant owl, a human road, and a snake’s lair.
Clearly, that will need to be fleshed out and expanded a bit, but it’s enough to give me some direction and, more importantly, gives me enough to write up a description of the game so I can get it submitted to the convention!
Step 3 – The Player Characters
This is always the bulk of prep for me, and it’s fantastic that the PCs already exist. I’ll need to tweak them a little bit, but it’s nice to already have a base to work from (including things like tri-fold figures and pictures). Bonus!
So, that’s about where I’m at with prep for this game. Considering there’s still a full month until the convention, I am well ahead of schedule (since I often procrastinate until the last week or two and then cram like a madman to be ready in time). Hopefully, that extra time will give me some breathing room to improve it even more. In a perfect world, I might even have time to — gasp! — playtest before the con.
Continued here in Part 2.
If you enjoyed this post and others like it, might you consider the Game Geekery Patreon?
Also in Adventure Creation
A behind-the-scenes look at putting together "one-shots," from idea and first notes to the finished adventure. Here are the five most recent posts, or select "View the entire series."
- “Hell on Wheels,” Post-Con Wrap Up
- Requiem, The Cartoon Finale
- Creating “Hare Today…” – Part 1
- Creating “Hare Today…” – Part 2
- “Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow,” Post-Con Wrap Up