Generating New Adventure Nodes

A day behind — Friday night at the game café, Saturday busy with household duties — but getting done now.

I have a map of sorts of the valley this adventure will take place in, but it’s pretty abstract. I’m going to start defining the nodes again, using different tools.

Here are the nodes from the previous iteration. They’re not going to quite work for me the way I had planned, mostly because Scenes of Chance and World Architect Cards work on slightly different principles. All is not lost, though. The table below can be changed to something I can use, without too much trouble.

Node Image Icons Notes
A Great Gate Castle, Dungeon, NPC; Lore This is the actual castle.
B Forest/Castle Castle, Forest, NPC, Weather; Danger Leading up to the castle.
C Mountain River Mountain, Mountain, Water, Weather; Danger, Lore River leads past castle.
D Catacomb Dungeon, Dungeon, Dungeon; Danger Secret way from graveyard to castle.
E Cave Cave, Oddities, Ongoing Event; Lore Caves outside town.
F Dark Swamp Swamp, Feature, Weather Further downstream from the swamp; wetter, more shadowy.
G Graveyard Forest, NPC, Weather; Lore Just outside town, near the forest.
H Cave-Waterfall Cave, Water, Water, Weather Down by the sea, obviously.
I Swamp Swamp, NPC, Ongoing Event, Weather Wetlands below the forest.
J Town NPC, Ongoing Event, Weather; Reward Where the PCs start, a bit higher ground than the swamp but not on the river.

The recommended use of World Architect Cards, or at least the way Dirk Stanley demonstrates, is to use the biome cards to outline the geography at a high level, then use the build cards to identify sites within the regions to flesh them out.

In this case, I think I can instead mix ‘biome nodes’ and ‘build nodes’. Some nodes are physically larger than others, but other nodes are more complex. For instance, ‘the forest’ has some sites of interest within it, but so do the castle and the town.

The node map can keep almost the same layout (I removed the link from E to F because it no longer makes sense), but the descriptions are changing. The ‘image’ is replaced with the World Architect Card that I use, and the ‘icons’ with the keywords from that card. Some of the nodes use repurposed cards (‘dungeon’ for ‘catacomb’, ‘sea’ for ‘river) and a few others have changed nature a bit (the ‘upper swamp’ now is soggy plains, the ‘dark swamp’ is just a swamp, and the caves near town are a mine and the other caves are a lair).

Adventure Graph (WAC)
Adventure Graph (WAC)
Node Biome/Build Keywords
A Castle Charred, decayed, draw bridge, dusty, echoes, flooded, pungent, roaring, rubble, scarred, stark, statues, stronghold, towers, tunnels.
B Forest Ancient, creek, earthy, fallen logs, leafy, malicious, rancid, silence, stale, thriving, twisted, vines, watching, waterfall, wet.
C River (Sea) Alive, breeze, cawing, choppy, deep, delta, dripping, fjord, fresh, lagoon, navigable, perfumed, salty, shallow, treacherous.
D Catacomb (Dungeon) Cells, collapsed, decayed, dome, howling, mausoleum, odorless, pit, refuse, screams, secret, slimy, torches, traps, treasure.
E Mine Beams, burned, cage, creepy, galleries, gas, gems, hollow, mildewed, ore, rancid, river, screams, tools, tracks.
F Swamp Bayou, chirping, fishy, glow, gurgling, heavy, humid, lake, leafy, lurking, misty, pungent, rancid, roaring, shouting.
G Graveyard Baying, catacombs, chapel, coffin, cracked, cryptic, granite, odorless, organic, peaceful, picturesque, pillars, polished, sleepy, trees.
H Lair Crackling, decayed, fetid, flooded, hollow, howling, littered, moldy, rancid, repurposed, secret, signs, stinky, traps, treasure.
I Plains Arable, creek, dangerous, discolored, dull, endless, fertile, flat, fragrant, plowed, roaring, sweet, treeless, untamed, wide open.
J Town Bustling, close, cobblestone, crime, dumpy, messy, perfumed, provincial, rushing, settled, sewage, uneventful, vibrant, well, wooden.

This looks like a much more workable set of node characteristics. The cards are full of very flavorful (if not pleasantly flavorful) descriptors for each location. Where before I started to get a sense of what the place is like, this is now much more vivid in my mind.

Not a really comfortable place, I might want to make it cleaner and more pleasant before going to press with a quick start, so it’s more fun and heroic. Or I might not, depending how this plays out.

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