Making a Scene
There comes a point in every project, plan, and goal where the little kid inside of you in the backseat of your mind pipes up and asks “are we there yet?” Unless you’re some sort of mutant, you know this to be true, especially when it’s on a longer/larger project where the sparkly, shiny newness of it can wear thin or grow dull in your eyes. You cannot throw in the towel. You have to dig deep, and keep on working. We’ve talked about it here a bit, and as the weather grows colder and we’re coming off a lazy holiday, I want to wrap myself up like a burrito in my blankets and sleep in. But I’m not. I’m writing away, working on stuff, and getting my head in the game while some of you decide whether to heat your leftovers or just eat ’em cold (by the way, I vote reheating).
Today, we’re going to build a scene using the outlines we discussed in the last RWR using Blood Loss as our setting.
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Overview: The characters reach Paris and are ambushed by three werewolves before rendezvousing with their contact.
Setting the Scene: “The air is cool and the faint scent of absinthe and lilac fills the air as you turn down a narrow side street, perhaps mere moments behind a young couple seeking a romantic interlude. You turn the corner, but do not see them kissing, you see two corpses, their entrails intertwined in a grotesque parody of intimacy. From the rooftops, you see the villains–three hulking wolf-men tattooed with the mark of the SS.”
Notes for the GM: Remember, two of the Werewolves are extras and the third is a Wild Card who will abandon the others if injured, by leaping up onto the roofs and run across the rooftops to safety. If any Werewolves get away, the Ubermensch are on high alert for the remainder of the adventure. After the third round, Jacques deMolay, the characters’ contact shows up, and becomes a target–the characters must protect him at all costs. Any character injured by a Werewolf is subject to contracting advanced Lycanthropy, unlesss their body chemistry is so greatly altered as to make him immune.
Character Objectives: The characters want to eliminate the Werewolves, and protect their contact.
Details: The alley is narrow and the environmental factors conspire to give characters -2 on all melee actions and -1 on ranged weapon attacks for the duration of the scene, regardless of the availability or absence of light. The bodies of the youth, if examined carefully, indicate early onset vampirism in both the male and female. Any Werewolf killed has “dog tags” on it, revealing its unit.
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This is a serviceable outline, but can definitely be amplified out a great deal, if need be. As this particular scene is narrow in scope, a lot of detail is not necessary to convey directions to the GM. The supporting cast (i.e. the contact and the antagonists) would be detailed out in another section of the work, eliminating the necessity for repetition here.
It can feel counterintuitive to use such a structure when creating an adventure. I assure you, it was a bit odd for us as well. Once we got into the groove, it’s been absolutely advantageous. Whether one regularly uses this structure or not, these elements can easily be turned into a checklist you’ll want to have for every scene you create for an adventure. Whether the map is adhered to or not, you can easily improvise with such much solid support to rely upon.
Make a plan, stick to it, and regularly reference your guidelines. Now, I’m off to make a scene and bid you, dear reader, adieu!