Standards For Published Adventures

Dec 04 2008

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Before I published War in the Deep, I wanted to be sure I was publishing a good-looking, professional adventure. So I bought a few.

D&D adventures are of startlingly high quality, even those made by individuals. Of course, the official, published, $30 adventures look fantastic, though I knew I wouldn’t achieve that level of quality on my first attempt.

I did have some minimum standards, though:

  • There had to be maps, using standard squares, in color.
  • (Thanks to Johnn Four) The colors had to be of sufficient contrast that they’d print beautifully in black-and-white. Most folks still don’t have color printers at home, after all.
  • The adventure had to work with a range of player levels. My players advance so quickly that an adventure designed for one level would only be useful to me for a couple of months, and even those designed for a few levels would be too limiting.
  • There had to be artwork or pictures.
  • The document had to start with an overall explanation of the adventure as a whole, so DMs could decide if it was right for them.
  • Each creature had to have a complete stat block.
  • I couldn’t use a standard computer font (Times New Roman, Arial, etc.).

I satisfied all those criteria. The adventure is for characters from level 1 through 10 (the Heroic Tier), with maps created in Inkscape, and using Creative Commons-licensed Flickr photos of underwater scenes. Of course, I’d like to have done more with it, like use artwork instead of letters for items on the maps, and use the two-column layout that RPGers seem to love—but nothing’s ever perfect. I’m satisfied, and I learned a lot for the next adventure.

What about you? What standard elements do you need in an adventure?

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