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Here at Game Geekery, I’m posting Part 2 of “Creating ‘Beware the Boogeyman‘” from the “Adventure Creation” series. Last week, I set down some very broad ideas on what the adventure might look like and who the PCs might be. This week I’m taking those ideas and making them more concrete, with an eye to eventually having what I need to run the game printed out in a nice, easy to read format.
After Step 1 last week, the game was defined as, “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.”
Step 2 expanded that a bit to be, “the Boogeyman sends his minions to attack children in the night, feeding off their fear of monsters and nightmares to make himself more powerful. To protect them, the Fairy Council ensures that every child has one or more magical guardians (the PCs) to keep the household safe while they sleep. But on this night, the Boogeyman’s attacks are unusually powerful… and he actually kidnaps the parents of certain extra imaginative children, a flagrant violation of the Eternal Laws. The Fairy Council responds by sending the PCs on a quest to the dream realm to confront the Boogeyman directly and rescue the parents.”
Somehow, those ideas need to carry a four-hour, six-player convention game. For me, that usually means five scenes, with a possible sixth that I can add in if the players are just ripping through everything and we don’t want the game to end like an hour early.
The game will begin in the children’s house as they’re sleeping and attacked by the Boogeyman’s minions, and presumably end with the climactic battle against the Boogeyman himself, so that’s two already. Those are both pretty combat-heavy, so for the third I’m hoping for some variety. After researching sleep and dreams online for a bit, I decide that the PCs must convince Morpheus, the god of dreams, that they are worthy to enter the dream realm in the first place before they can even embark on their mission. Halfway there!
In my reading (and Wikipedia addiction), I was also reminded of the wonderful poem “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. A guardian dragon is always a good idea, so I guess the PCs will have to defeat the Jabberwock on their way to the Boogeyman? Speaking of, the Boogeyman is a nightmare creature that feeds on the fear of others for his own power… there should be a scene where the PCs need to overcome their personal fear before they face him, with each success and failure making him more or less powerful.
Finally, I always enjoy pitting PCs against twisted mirror images of themselves, and the dream realm seems the perfect place for something like that. I’ll keep that “in reserve” as a possible sixth encounter should there be time to squeeze it in.
That’s six scenes (well, five plus one). They’re awfully disjointed, though, so I spend a while trying to weave some kind of connecting narrative.
Not bad, I think. It still feels a little all over the place, but the game is set in a land of dreams — there’s a lot of leeway. I think I can pull it off!
With a better understanding now of the story, it’s time to get to work on finishing up the PCs.
First, though, I am changing the children from Billy and Sarah to Peter and Eva, children of Russian ancestry. This is because in my reading, I discovered things called Domovoi, which are mythical house protecting spirits from Slavic folklore. They caught my eye because they are said to be able to take on the forms of cats and dogs, so… perfect!
So far, I have basic versions of half the characters:
I may tweak them a wee bit, but that’s mostly what they’ll look like in their final versions.
The game prep is coming along well! The convention is not for another three weeks, and “all” I have left to do are three more PCs and all of the fiddly bits for “Step 6 – Final Details” (which consists mostly of getting everything printed and organized).
Once the game is fully prepped and ready, I’ll post everything together for download. Any thoughts so far on the storyline, characters, anything else?
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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."