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Hooks Aren't Just for Fishing

If you want to see me beat a metaphor to death, or are just interested in the second of my Adventure Builder series of adventure design essays, take a look at "Setting the Hook". The action won't start until you read it....

Thanks to wahcrysob for noting it!

Comments

( 7 sutras — Your wisdom )
wahcrysob
Aug. 13th, 2006 12:31 am (UTC)
Metaphors are suprisingly resiliant.

Thanks for the shoutout, I added customadventure to my friends by the way.
the_monkey_king
Aug. 13th, 2006 01:17 am (UTC)
Well, open_design is a locked blog for the most part.

I'm tailoring an adventure called "Steam & Brass" for 12th, 8th, and 6th level characters over there. Closing in on a playtestable draft, but as a commissioned project I'm keeping most of it behind the "friends wall".
zakarntson
Aug. 16th, 2006 03:04 am (UTC)
"If you don't know what type of adventure the players want most, ask. They'll be happy to tell you."

Yes! Yes! Yes! This is so fundamental to enjoyable play, that I consider it going beyond just hooks and central to the gaming group. This should be printed in large letters on the inside cover of the DMG. I've left groups for better pastures, with no hard feelings all around because we acknowledged our desired play didn't mesh. On the other hand, I've had excellent gaming sessions because we all laid out what we wanted beforehand.

"The hooks that work best are often those that don't REQUIRE the party to respond."

I would add to that sentence with "but respond or not, the gameworld is affected in some way that opens up further hooks." In your examples, ignoring the responses could lead to:
  • The troublemaker kills his escort and begins making plans against his tribe.

  • The long-assumed dead dragon hears rumors of the gnome and comes looking for her coins.

  • The innocent prisoner is executed, leading to a violent feud between his captors and his family.

  • The scholar asks a mutual friend of himself and the PC for help. This friend disappears.

  • The coup occurs.

Note that these aren't punishments for failing to follow the hook, but remind the players that the world isn't standing still, waiting for them to act. And in each case, you open up more potential hooks to try and grab your players later.

Nice read, there. Thanks! I'm looking forward to the rest of these.
the_monkey_king
Aug. 19th, 2006 03:59 pm (UTC)
You're right, it is more central than just the hook. But the hook critically depends on understanding player desires or goals.

And yes, consequences are critical. This is pretty much how I learned to live with players ignore the obvious hook; next session, they'd hear about the fallout. But that starts to shade into campaign issues of pacing, so I just discussed the secondary hook and left it at that.

I had fun writing them. I'm may do a few more for the patrons at Open Design, eventually. Either about campaign building, or maybe do it from the players perspective.
trentc
Aug. 19th, 2006 02:16 am (UTC)
I found your blog through the Adventure Builder series, which I am enjoying so far.

I'll be keeping tabs on it, and this site. Thanks for the series!
the_monkey_king
Aug. 19th, 2006 03:59 pm (UTC)
Glad you like them! I'll have some posts on gaming topics later today or early tomorrow.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 10th, 2006 02:44 am (UTC)
Your Adventure Builder article is, quite simply, essential. I am a new D.M., and your first article saved my game from ruin. /Excellent/ work and thank you so much!
( 7 sutras — Your wisdom )

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