Tag Archives: narrative design

Activity #6 More read throughs (and no playtesting) of my encounter in Week of ‘Spring 2022 Write your First D&D Encounter Workshop’

Activity #6 in Week 3 of ‘Spring 2022 Write your First D&D Encounter Workshop’ is all about playtesting.

In theory and in practice it’s a good thing to do, but in the context of a relatively inexpensive online workshop where the stakes are low and there’s little incentive for a participant to engage in an optional activity aside from the goodness of their heart with the hope you reciprocate, your expectations are low when it comes to getting someone to playtest your encounter – it can be intense constantly schilling your encounter in the Discord channel.

That’s why the fallback of a read through works – it’s relatively quick and easy to do alone and within your own time, which means it’s more likely for your encounter to receive feedback. I’ve been fortunate to give and receive four read throughs, which is fantastic.

Throughout the week I’ve also been exploring layouts and tinkering with The Homebrewery to format my encounter and prepare it for publishing in Week 4. So far it looks a little like the following.

Activity #6 Playtesting my encounter in Week of ‘Spring 2022 Write your First D&D Encounter Workshop’

Week 3 of #WYFE , also known as ‘Spring 2022 Write your First D&D Encounter Workshop’, is all about playtesting my encounter.

As noted on the #Stoco workshop website, playtesting is an optional step in the game design process in which you test your design for flaws before releasing it to the market (Arman, n.d.). As Arman (n.d.) also notes, the playtesting can be of great benefit and can help you to:

  • receive valuable feedback from real gamers
  • glean insights about your audience and how to anticipate their needs
  • mitigate negative criticism arising from unforeseen issues in your creations prior to release.

Arman suggested to really focus your playtest, making sure to identify the areas and specify what you’d like to find out and make it easy for playtesters to offer feedback e.g., provide an overview, goals and link to survey or similar to gather responses.

Arman also suggested casting a wide net when inviting others to playtest, which I did by sharing my encounter with the RPG Writer Workshop Discord, the Game Writing Twitter community, and the Discussion section of the workshop website – I’ll also ask my D&D inspired work colleagues to take a squiz!

Activity #4 Outlining your encounter (Submission – 11 May) for ‘Spring 2022 Write your First D&D Encounter Workshop’

Using the outline template, I outlined my encounter in the following format:

  • Title
  • Synopsis
  • Location
  • NPCs/monsters/creatures
  • Objective
  • Conclusion

I’ve refashioned the worksheet from the Welcome Kit as a Google doc and have been outlining my encounter in it and shared it on Discord in the #crafting-your-encounter channel – I’m really looking forward to refining it over the remaining weeks!

Week 2: Activity #4 – Start outlining your encounter for ‘Spring 2022 Write your First D&D Encounter Workshop’

Activity #4 for Week 2 (and beyond) of the ‘Spring 2022 Write Your First D&D Encounter Workshop’ is to start outlining my one page (500 words at 12 pt font) encounter in my Workshop document and then share on Discord in the #crafting-your-encounter channel.

This is the ‘writing phase’ of the workshop and that builds on what I’ve done for Activity #1, Activity #2 and Activity #3.

Week 1: Activity #1 for ‘Spring 2022 Write Your First D&D Encounter Workshop’

As outlined by M.T. Black in the Stoco workshop website, encounters are the lifeblood of Dungeons & Dragons, where any adventure or campaign could be considered as being made up from a series of related encounters.

M.T. Black defines an encounter as a single scene in the game where the players interact with a challenge.

All encounters are made up three basic elements:

  • location (where the encounter takes place)
  • goal (something the characters want to achieve or desire)
  • obstacle (the thing that’s preventing the characters from achieving the goal).

An encounter in three-lines

Activity #1 for Week 1 of the ‘Spring 2022 Write Your First D&D Encounter Workshop’ is to create a simple encounter in my worksheet using the three-line format, and then share with others in the #ideation-and-organization channel on Discord or using the Discussion feature of the workshop website.

My three-line encounter (V01.1)

  • Location: Mysterious underground cavern
  • Goal: Escape
  • Obstacle: The cavern/surrounding environment & the players themselves (not sure if the format allows for more than once obstacle)

My encounter is a mash-up of Saw, Dredd and The Raid in a D&D world, kinda.

My post in the channel on Discord.
My post in the Discussion on the Stoco workshop website.

What about the other workshop participants? 

As you’d expect, other participants are a pretty creative bunch and were proposing some pretty awesome three-line encounters.

D&D Maps

Leading up to the start of Write Your First D&D Encounter | Spring 2022 workshop, I’ve been totally inspired by the maps produced and shared for use by Dyson Logos and have started drawing out my own D&D maps for my encounter – it’s been fun to think how I can keep them tight, light and urgent for my encounter.

Break out/Escape – totally inspired by Dyson Logos’ “Page o’ Little Ruins”, which is okay right?
The under to get over – make your way through three levels to get to the surface, if you can…

D&D trade dress with Homebrewery and GM Binder, and maps

Before the Write Your First D&D Encounter | Spring 2022 workshop starts on 1 May, I’ve been exploring the additional resources section of the online portal.

In there, a bunch of cool stuff can be found, including links to GM BInder and Homebrewery which are online tools for generating the ‘D&D trade dress style’ – gotta explore this more so I’m ready to apply these tools to format my published encounter at the end of the fourth week!

A quick go of Homebrewery with placeholder text and markdown – neato!

Equally cool is Dyson Logos Commercial Maps, an archive of maps by professional cartographer, Dyson Logos – unbelievably awesome!

My current favourite is the short and sharp map, The Dragon Shrine. Dyson Logos writes…

Seeming to have climbed out of the ghost dunes, the namesake of the Dragon Shrine is more accurately described as the upper torso, shoulders, head and arms of a massive troglodyte assembled from massive stone blocks. Stone tiers and rows of parallel columns lead up to the idol’s chest where a copper door covered in a deep green patina allows access to the interior of the beast to those who know the command word to open it.

The Dragon Shrine

Worksheet for the ‘Spring 2022 Write Your First D&D Encounter Workshop’

My worksheet for the Spring 2022 Write Your First D&D Encounter Workshop, which runs from 1 May to 31 May, 2022.

By the end of the four week workshop, my worksheet will be fully populated and (hopefully) ready and good enough to be published as part of an anthology of encounters by other workshop participants.

I’ve joined the Spring 2022 Write Your First D&D Encounter Workshop!

I’m super-excited about making a start on the Spring 2022 Write Your First D&D Encounter Workshop, which is a fully-online 4 week course that launches on 1 May and finishes on 31 May.

What I’ll do

By the end of the workshop, I’ll have written and produced a one-page D&D 5th Edition encounter – a mini adventure. In the workshop, I’ll learn about:

  • elements of an encounter
  • designing my encounter
  • writing my encounter
  • playtesting my encounter
  • Dungeon Masters Guild Best Practices – cool!

Workshop schedule

The weekly schedule looks pretty good – here’s how it unfolds over the four weeks of the workshop.

Week Lesson Date
1 What is an Encounter?

 

  • The components of a D&D encounter
  • What is an Encounter?
  • Types of Encounters
1 – 7 May
2 Writing Your Encounter

 

  • Brainstorming the Effective Way
  • Starting Your Encounter
  • Reinventing Tropes
8-14 May
3 Playtesting Your Encounter

 

  • Playtesting
  • Implementing feedback
15-21 May
4 Producing Your Encounter

 

  • Layout Basics
  • Publishing to DMs Guild
  • Marketing Your Encounter
21-30 May
4 Submission day 31 May

Before it begins…

So far, I’ve been able to successfully sign-up, join Discord and request to join the #wyfe channel where participants will be able to share their work and thoughts with others – great stuff.

The off-platform discussion and participant engagement and sharing via Discord is a vaguely similar to the way #DS106 used Twitter and each participants’s personal cyber infrastructure as well as a central hub to deliver the course, sort of – making use of available tools and platforms (that the target audience most likely already uses) is more efficient and flexible than designing an LMS/walled-garden situation. It probably also keeps costs down, which means the course is more viable.

The next steps for me is to continue to make my way through the pre-course welcome area and continue to monitor the Discord channel before it all starts on 1 May, of course – not much time!

Our work is going to be published – cool

Our work is going to be published – cool

The Storytelling Collective is going to assemble a collection of the one-page encounters into an anthology that they’ll release as one title on DMs Guild, much like Collective Encounters Vol. I, Collective Encounters Vol. II and Collective Encounters Vol. III.