Creating RPG Hooks

It’s important to engage your audience as quickly a possible. You want to captivate them and create an atmosphere filled with possibility. You want to establish tone and theme and convey a sense of what the scenario is all about.

Strive to accomplish this from the outset.

Establish your general idea.
Put down in a few words your high concept.

The heroes need to rescue someone.

Expand your idea.
The Peace in Our Time Conference is scheduled to take place in three days and Ambassador Glade is missing. All evidence points to his kidnapping by North Korea. With tensions already high, these volatile talks are threatened to break down as Glade is crucial in discussions between several Middle Eastern countries. The President is none too happy with this being perceived as weakness as it might compromise his private trade summit with several world leaders taking place at the same time at Camp David.

The agents need to find out who captured the ambassador and rescue him before the media gets wind of the story and, ultimately, before the Conference begins. They must be quick and quiet.

Distill it down.
Likely, you’ve written too many words with your general thumbnail sketch. Trim the fat to its essential concept, keeping in mind the truth of the matter, the essence of things.

*The heroes need to rescue the ambassador from the evil clutches of Pandora.*

Be clear.
Provide an obvious objective. Obstacles and adversity shall invariably arise to complicate matters.

Set the stakes.
Let them know what hangs in the balance. Something should always hang in the balance.

Set the tone.
Serious. Whimsical. Whatever. Choose the predominate theme in your presentation of information.

Put it All Together

Create a lead-in that combines all these elements.

Grab Your Audience By the Throat
Regardless of the tone of your adventure, make them want to know more. Imply questions. Provoke. Push. Keep things tight.

Things have been going smoothly as the Peace in Our Time Conference nears. Too smoothly.

Ambassador Glade is missing and it’s up to you to find him. He disappeared in New York City twenty hours ago and now could be any where in the world. Certain parties wanted to loop you out, wanted to keep things quiet, now they want you to find the man before the media finds out, before the world finds out, before the conference begins. And before the President’s shadow trade summit begins. You know it’s slated to take place at the same time. This disappearance makes the U.S. appear work and politics is all about appearances.

Glade is instrumental in diplomatic relations. Many leaders are showing up because of his evenhanded mediations. Without him, everything will fall apart, and these polished ambassadors shall behave as unruly schoolchildren without a firm, friendly hand to guide them. With tensions already high, things won’t end well.

You have three days. Three days to find a needle in a haystack. You must be quick. You must be quiet. You must find out what you need to know without anyone ever being the wiser. Good luck.

We might’ve sneakily done a bit of outlining in the process. That’s okay. It’s all part of the process.

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