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One of the key challenges in scenario design is finding ways to help the characters by into the story.
This is my take on adapting the advice of Wolfgang Baur in “Writing your first adventure” (https://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ab/20060728a) to Pulp Adventure design.
Before you begin running a scenario, consider your player’s back stories and see if there is a way to tie them in.
Is the scenario about the kidnapping of an eminent scientist? If so, is it possible that one of the Academics knows the victim? Or perhaps one of the Adventurers or Mystics is a relative?
Is the aid of a key member of the police required? If so, does one of the characters have a past that saw them come into conflict with this individual?
Character hooks are those things which allow the characters to become personally invested in the story.
A pulp adventure is peopled with adventurers, mystics, and academics. It is important to try and give your players a relatively balanced play experience where they each get to have their moment in the sun.
Plan encounters and situations that allow them to play to their strengths.
Create approx. 22 encounters that will allow the players to shine. If possible prepare them with your specific players in mind.
Create 5 each for the general archetypes, 5 general combat and roleplaying encounters, at least one place that will provide the players with aid and that they can recover safely in, and 1 climactic encoutner with the “big bad” villain.
2 x stealth obstacles (break into the safe, sneak past the guards)
2 x physical challenges (crossing a tightrope, scaling a wall, swimming a significant distance under water)
1 x dexterity challenge (firing a bow and arrow at a target)
2 x Mechanics, Technology, Science obstacles (get the grounded airplane flying)
2 x puzzle or trap
1 x medical challenge (provide first aid to the dying scientist)
2 x Magical challenges (safely manipulating a magical item, or lock)
2 x Research or occult knowledge challenge (decyphering hieroglyphs etc)
1 x Artefact recovery (An gold challice with restorative powers that must be understood correctly to be used)
1 x Safe haven for recovery etc.
2 x roleplaying obstacles (situations requiring negotiation and effective communication)
2 x Mook encounters (straight fights)
1 x Lieutenant encounter
1 x Big bad guy encounter
A written list keyed to each of my characters can help me ensure that everyone get’s their moment in the sun.