If organized play ever gets off the ground, the adventures will have to come from somewhere. While it's fine and good for CKs to come up with their own, there are some advantages to having some ready to go:
- The best CKs probably already have a few games they are running and developing for already.
- Adventures written for the purpose can be uniform, a shared experience with those playing in many different sessions with different groups.
- Adventures can be timed, tested, and adjusted for whatever the organized play window is (3 hrs?)
- One set of pre-gens can be optimized against, or the adventures optimized for them, and their growth across the adventures can represent the growth of the participating characters.
- These adventures can be written as stand-alone but on a path meandering through some part of say, Aihrde, which sells the setting in addition to the game.
- These adventures can be written specifically for C&C and made to highlight aspects of the 13 classes and the SIEGE system, without any cruft brought in by using 3rd party modules from another system.
To the above, maybe it's time then to start discussing making some of these. What I've written before don't represent my ideas about writing adventures in general, just for organized play. My guidelines to start:
- 3, maybe 4 hours. This is very hard to do! You should be able to complete at least one minor and one major objective and some light exposition in this time. I know in my own adventures I always greatly underestimate what my group will accomplish in one session. Completion in a session is not only important for encapsulation, but for showing the efficiency of the system.
- I think megadungeons or long story campaigns are a bad fit for these, because someone should be able to go from con to con or game to game and experience the continuity in that way. Anything that requires many sessions of delving or campaigning isn't a good fit for this (unless it's deliberately episodic and planned so everyone starts and stops in the same place in each episode).
- Map suitable for a tiled battlemat for the table or for Roll20 (or whatever VTT OP will standardize upon.) This just helps keep CK prep time low.
- Standard instructions for adjudication of any funny situations. This is to provide an even experience across all C&C demonstration games.
- Good item balance. Adventurers should get a cool reward for play, but shouldn't burden the next CK with something extraordinarily powerful. Items suited for particular C&C classes or races are especially nice, as they reinforce the system.
- Standalone. You should never have to have played in any other game, and you don't need to show up at the next event to find out what happened in the game you played. And you can start up any time. If you haven't leveled, maybe OP will have some leveling system or they'll get a pregen.
- Pregens. I think some standard iconic pregens for OP would be a good idea, but in any case, there should be 13 pre-gens available for play, with races distributed across them, with no background that depends on gender or a particular location. These are to help with the standalone aspect and with CK prep, and to have a solution ready when players want to bring in players from outside the OP campaign.
- Themes probably should be set against a backdrop found whatever setting TLG allows for Organized Play, and if it's Aihrde, Steve probably would have ideas for that backdrop. The themes would not have to interact with the backdrop but would be compatible with it. For instance, the backdrop is a world ruled by Sauron and some hobbits are taking a ring to Mount Doom. The adventures have nothing to do with that, but could involve battles with Sauron's men and other more localized problems.
- Setting specific and TLG proprietary monsters are good for these and hopefully TLG would allow them in OP materials.
- Cliches and tropes welcome. In a 3 hour game, they get everyone on the same page. The plot can be hackneyed, but it must give the players opportunity to be awesome.
- Deadly is fine, but unless these are tournament modules, cruel and unfair is probably not. Let characters die gloriously, not at the bottom of a trap they missed (but see above, every class should have places they can shine if they play in a few adventures, trap finding included.)
- 13 classes are a lot to plan for, so it's unlikely every adventure can cater to them all. Things that can be done include using foes that fall under the Ranger's specialties, undead for the Cleric, traps and sneak attack/backstab opportunities for Rogues, gear for fighters (and lots of 1 HD foes even at high levels), etc.
- Encounters might have an OP
These guidelines are probably premature before discussing what the goals for organized play are, but I am assuming they are to give new players a chance to see the standard, non-house ruled system work, get exposed to its unique qualities, get exposed to its unique settings and creatures, and give everyone an opportunity to be a hero once every month or whatever, online, at a table, or wherever OP play can be found, whether they are veterans or have never picked up a set of dice. They can advance their character and have war stories that can be shared with other players: someone in Toronto and someone in Des Moines can discuss defeating Bozo the Relentless over drinks at a con, even when they weren't at the same game.
I'd really like to hear from the Knights and from TLG and their thoughts.