#drafting an adventure
How do you make so many of these so consistently? Do you have a patreon?
Drafting the Adventure: My Process
I was jokingly going to leave this blank because writers block be like that sometimes, but then I realized the question of consistency in writing is actually something a lot of DMs and other creators who follow this blog can benefit from. Appeals to utility have always been the way to get me to do anything, so lets crack in and see what people can learn from the messy inner workings of my process.
Step 1: Inspiration
While I often describe my work as “writing down stories inspired by cool fantasy art”, my process actually begins long before I sit down at my desk to actually write anything. Though trial and error I’ve determined that I’m at my creative best when my brain is swimming in stories, even if they have 0 relevance to what I’m going to write about. I’ve almost always got an audiobook or podcast on while I’m doing mundane life upkeep, and I keep a phone note app or actual notebook within easy access at all times. These last two are essential, as sometimes an idea or story snippet will come to me and then linger around for years, just waiting for some other concept to magnetize to and create something amazing. Every time I get a quarter of a way through a notebook, I transpose the content to a google dock, that way I can have easy access to anything I’ve written down over the ages.
Step 2: Subject Matter
Choosing the right image is an artform in and of itself, as you need something with enough thematic richness to communicate an idea, while at the same time being vague enough to be flexible, in case I have a particular idea in need of an image. Early on I also made the mistake of just collecting images in my drafts folder, leading to a several thousand image backlog that I had to sift through whenever I knew there was ONE PARTICULAR image I wanted to use for a thing. I’ve since rectified my mistake and keep a separate blog specifically for art, which I can specifically tag to search through easier. I also use the “post to tumblr” browser extension to make image acquisition just that much speedier.
Step 3: Story Seeds
After I’ve got my subject in front of me, I study the image to generate a few base ideas: what’s the mood? the vibe? the unstated tension? where would this image fit in a larger story? these things provide the raw material for my writing and help me fill out details that I never would have dreamed of. I also figure out if any of my several years worth of idea backlog would fit into this in any way, and if changing a detail or two could massage a previously good idea into a great one with accompanying art.
Step 4: Gamifying
This is a d&d blog after all, so once the story starts to take shape, I start thinking about how I can turn these narratives into actual adventures. Is there a dungeon involved? a dare to test the party’s skills? maybe a mercantile opportunity to take a gamble on? The best adventure formulation is about dangling a reward out of the party’s current reach, then figuring out what challenges, twists, and pitfalls they’ll need to navigate to get there, while simultaneously setting them up to go on another adventure with a different reward after they’ve achieved the first.
Step 5: Actually writing.
Putting actual words on the page is perhaps my biggest hurdle, both because I suffer from chronic brainfog and because life can so often be too hectic to write. I’ve found that making a habit of writing ( every day for half an hour while I'm having my morning tea) is enough to generally get past my initial hurdle. I triage my projects, focusing on small light ideas when I don’t have the energy saving the big ones that’ll require a lot of work for good writing days or bitesized chunks. Some sessions are about limping along with as much as you can manage, while others are about riding that flow wave and getting as much done as you can. As for making that writing good, I’ve got a whole tag full of different ways to improve your adventure writing, so give it a read and take what you need.
As for a Patreon, I do indeed have one https://www.patreon.com/Villain4hire, and a ko-fi at https://ko-fi.com/villainforhire. I'll admit, I've left both of them on the backburner for quite some time both because I had life stuff ( moving etc) and because my ever looming podcast project would necessitate an overhaul of both.
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You are allowed to dislike Steven Universe and She-ra, He owl house, etc. Hell, you're even allowed to dislike Rebecca Sugar, Dana Terrace and Noelle Stevenson.
But there's one thing you're not allowed to take away. That there was a little girl, who was constantly told she'll have to marry a man one day, and she always hated the thought of marriage until she watched Ruby and Sapphire, two girls get married o tv, when she suddenly realized she has a future. And there was a girl who went home crying because her classmates told her only boys can kiss girls when she tried to kiss her female crush, and then saw Catra and Adora kiss onscreen and suddenly felt like her feelings might not be wrong after all. And the little boy who never knew why he didn't want to date girls until he saw Benson tell Kipo he's gay, and altough this little boy wouldn't learn what that means for years, he knew there's this word Benson used and he knew it meant he didn't want to be with Kipo because she's a girl and he wanted to be with Troy because he's a boy and he loved him. And there must have been a girl who never wanted a boyfriend but didn't know girls can have girlfriends until she saw Amity and Luz call each other girlfriends. And don't get me started on the enby kids who didn't exactly understand why Raine Whispers was called they and them but realized they'd love to be called that.
There were so many of these kids. And maybe their parents turned off the tv and yelled at them saying they're being brainwashed by modern cartoons. But it was too late. These kids already saw themselves, and already saw it's not wrong to be themselves.
You can dislike these cartoons but you CANNOT deny that what they did to these kids changed their lives for the better.
Oh and one more thing. These shows aren't being made by cishet creators. There could have been a cishet creator who wanted to create a gay character in a cartoon but it didn't happen because they were told no they just took it. But these creators did not take no for an answer, and the reason they didn't, is because they were those kids, who needed to see these cartoons but did not. And this is another reminder not to compare these cartoons because they aren't enemies, they're helping each other, giving more opportunities to do even more.
Anyways. I was that kid. Steven Universe changed my life and helped me accept who I am.
Embrace queer representation in cartoons-even the ones you don't like- for these kids.
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cracker barrel arson for the ask meme
[ID: First image is a drawing of Lup, an elven woman, standing in the interior of a burning Cracker Barrel Resturaunt. The background is a muted photo. She is holding a tank of gasoline and is in the midst of pouring it onto the floor. The caption on the image reads, "Date a boy who forgives you for your past. Date a boy who disregards your Cracker Barrel arson charge." The second image is another perspective of Lup, still pouring gas into the raging fire. Standing behind her in an open doorway, is Barry, a human man. He appears to be acting as a lookout. The caption reads, "Date a boy who was your accomplice in the Cracker Barrel arson." End ID]
some words of advice from Lup. Based off of this post
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*takes a massive sip of energy drink and crushes the can against my head* dunno
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No context, just vibe with them
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I think I never posted these two little doodles for the vampire mudad au here…? Baby vampire Gio and his dad. Y_Y ❤
(all the things for this AU are under the tag ’ vampire mudad au’)
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If you could have a superpower in real life, what would it be?
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★✮☆ Persona 5
At the hideout after school
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POV: you have 50 days to reach the human realm
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got a rough draft of an edit i’m making, any thoughts or suggestions?
(i totally didn’t cry at some point while making this)
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Do you have any ideas for factions or cool groups like that? Or how to use them well?
Drafting the Adventure: Factions
While any setting is going to boast a panoply of hierarchies, guilds, conspiracies, and groups of competing interest, when I refer to "factions" I am speaking primarily about in-universe organizations that the party can become a member of. Writing about factions in any generalized sense is pretty tricky, considering they can be any number of the following:
Something that all, some, or none of the party end up joining. whether due to qualification or interest.
A secondary form of character progression that can unlock benefits based on your place within the hierarchy of the organization, independent of XP attainment or level
Major or minor force within the campaign's politics/overall story, locking players into or out of big lore and decision moments
Whole new casts of NPCs the dm will need to prep and the party will need to familiarize themselves with.
With all that said, I tend to look at factions with an "investment first" lens, in that I tend to include them when I think players would enjoy playing part of a particular group, either because it serves the story to have them as part of a hierarchy, or because it gives characters who'd otherwise be wandering sellswords a sense of identity that their player might not have originally thought about.
In terms of deciding what factions to put in your own campaign, I can't caution you enough about trying to plan out lots of factions for your own campaign. I've seen one too many DMs try to go the "skyrim route" and make individual factions for each of the major character archetypes, clogging up their world by detailing multiple organizations that the party may never see. Joining a faction should be something the whole party can do, and is pretty much it's own adventure arc run parallel to the main campaign.
So then what should a well built faction look like? Here's a few ideas for you to mix and match:
An ideal faction recruits the sort of people the characters are when they have an opportunity to join the faction. Party is a bunch of scoundrels half way to being outlaws? They get an offer from a criminal organization. Party are mid level champions of the realm? Welcome to the Historic order of Saint ____, defenders of the kingdom. Party nearly died last time they did a monster bounty? Well why not join our Hunter's guild, we negotiate collectively for fair compensation for work and pay benefits to your loved ones if you bite it.
Joining gives the party a new sense of identity, and allows them to interact with the setting in a different way than they did as simple dogooders and mercenaries. Joining a pirate crew means you've made an enemy of the navy, but get to participate in raids and visit the black market. Joining a mystic order gives you access to the deep lore and marks you as special among the common people, but your actions are now more scrutinized than ever.
While ranking up within a faction does grant more power, it should not be based on character level , but instead on performing deeds in line with the group's ethos and goals.
Since most parties have trouble coming up with group names, joining a faction gives them something to call themselves, as well as iconography they can use to mark themselves out as part of the same group.
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i like to think barry’s not just the lover bc of lup, but also bc he’s the glue of the ship. i like to think he was the first non-lup member of the crew to bring taako out of his shell, the first to befriend lucretia and make her feel like she belonged, the first to talk to davenport as a friend and not a captain, the first to ask merle about his faith, the first to sit with magnus and eat hard candy and talk about home.
the others hold the crew together in their own ways but it’s barry who always provides a listening ear, or comfort when anyone needs it, and he’s just someone steady that they can lean on, so much so that he takes it upon himself to make sure they always escape (and there’s something to be said about the fact that lup doesn’t let him carry that weight alone, just like she comforted him when he usually did the comforting even very early in their journey).
and because he’s a lich powered by love. like, it makes sense for lup, she’s got two super powerful anchors. she and barry love each other so much, and on a ship powered by love she and her brother were chosen probably in part because of their bond. but i don’t believe that barry could sustain himself solely with lup as an anchor, especially if she needed more than him as well. i like to think he got days from all of the crew, and thoughts of his entire family keeps him alive (or undead) for all those years.
and i think it’s appropriate that barry not only remembers everything but that he’s the one who gets the family back together. he’s the one that first signals to taako that the umbrastaff is more precious to him than he remembers. he has thb break into the moonbase and inoculate themselves. he commands davenport to drink. barry was the one who worked tirelessly to get his family back together because he’s the strong, stable glue that they can rely on to keep them together.
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I have known miss Lup for one and a half episodes and I am already so, so in love with her
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Does This Chapter-By-Chapter Plot Outline Work for You?
Hero and Ordinary World
1 - Really Bad Day
2 - Something Peculiar
3 - Grasping at Straws
A - INCITING INCIDENT
4 - Call to Adventure
5 - Head in Sand
6 - Pull Out Rug
B - FIRST PLOT POINT
Exploring New World
7 - Enemies & Allies
8 - Games and Trials
9 - Earning Respect
10 - Forces of Evil
11 - Problem Revealed
12 - Truth and Ultimatum
Act II (cont.)
Bad Guys Close In
13 - Mirror Stage
14 - Plan of Attack
15 - Crucial Role
16 - Direct Conflict
17 - Surprise Failure
18 - Shocking Revelation
SECOND PLOT POINT
Defeat and Victory
19 - Giving Up
20 - Pep Talk
21 - Seizing the Sword
22 - Ultimate Defeat
23 - Unexpected Victory
24 - Bittersweet Return
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Why is pineapple on pizza even a thing? Why is my nickname Nemo?
There are a lot of questions science can't answer, some significant and some...not so much, but you took it upon yourself to answer one in particular.
Can humans time travel?
Most physicists would agree that that's a loaded question don't you think? But after graduating you gathered a group of friends and made it your goal to answer that question and be the first ever group to well...time travel, but you gotta agree that a group of friends taking on a huge project like that will open room for miscalculations.
What's the worst that can happen?
Miscalculated is a time traveling (well...duh :)) adventure interactive novel written with choicescript, with a sprinkle of comedy and lots of shenanigans, your group will encounter lots of interesting characters, some good, some bad, some will become friends and others well...can become more than friends, it's all up you my friend, oh and also up to whether you'll be able to survive or not :)
Play as male, female of non-binary
Character customization galore part 2 :)
Cause some time-space paradoxes on your way :)
Meet a helluva lot of crazy characters, most of which think you're doing witchcraft :)
Find your way home? Maybe
Did I mention break space and time?
Astrid/Asher Gibby (f/m):
Goes by Gibby, the engineer of the group and one of your best friends, Gibby has a bubbly personality and an all round extrovert, most often found chatting with someone. Gibby has a warm personality and is honest to a fault, they enjoy watching bad soap operas, ginger ale and caramel popcorn, in their free time they paint and they can sing too.
Elise/Elijah Creed (f/m):
Goes by Eli, the history researcher of the group and also one of your closest friends, Eli is what you might call a perfectionist, and a mix between extroverted and introverted, like spending time with people but wouldn't say no to some quiet reading, they don't talk much about their past, they love dogs and playing drums.
More information and fun facts about Gibby and Eli soon, and the other 2/3 ROs will be announced right before their introduction in the novel because of Spoilers McSpoil :)
RO Portraits (Coming soon)
RO Playlists (Coming soon)
That yes Miscalculated is my side-project but might get more updated because Frostford's mystery is made with Twine so I work on writing, designs and sounds to make the gameplay experience perfect but Miscalculated will be written in choicescript so yeah! :3
That I don't study physics so I might get some things wrong, but hey, this is a fiction novel, I can invent my own physics :) (/j)
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Queliot bingo: hanahaki
Heliotropium for El (Devotion; I adore you; I remain true)
Syringa for Q (Disappointment; Do you still love me?; Remember me)
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How is Justin Hoops McElroy the og poster of the berries and cream audio???? That's a new thing I can add to the odd list of shit they've done. Insanely viral audio?? Check ☑
(This has been in my drafts for weeks but here's something NOT GVF related)
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Lucretia isn’t avoiding Taako. She’s not seeking him out, either. He seems to be avoiding her though, and she’ll respect it. It hurts, but she’ll respect it.
Then one day Taako’s in her office. He comes in, floating in the chair Magnus made him, looking anywhere but at her but still with a determined look about him.
“Hello, Taako,” she says. She doesn’t know what else to say.
“We need to talk,” he says. Right to the point, classic Taako.
“Of course,” Lucretia says, putting down the papers she was reading. She gives him all her attention in the otherwise empty room.
“I…” he starts, then sighs and tries again, “What you did was… inexcusable.”
Lucretia knows that, and she’s deeply, deeply sorry. But she doesn’t interrupt him.
“I know you’re sorry, and I know you’re cool with me not accepting that. It’s just… how?” He says that last word as he makes eye contact with her for the first time in months. She’s blown away by the raw emotion in his gaze.
“How what?” she says. She doesn’t know what else to say.
“I…” Taako cuts himself off and looks down, hands balled into fists on the arms of his chair. “I look at you and I…” He cuts himself off again with a sigh. The next words are said in a rush. “I feel so sad because I love you but I also have been hurt so badly that I don’t think I can forgive and forget.”
She sits there, gaze drifting from him to her hands folded over each other on her desk. She remembers when they first started to wrinkle, and she wondered if she’d be recognized by her family at this age. Her nail polish is new, a glossy purple olive branch extended to her when Magnus wanted to have this talk. Like teenagers gossiping at a sleepover, except the conversation topic was betrayal and the apocalypse.
“I don’t expect you to forgive me,” she says. It’s what she told Magnus too, and everyone else. “And you don’t have to forget what happened.”
“But I fucking miss you,” Taako says. He’s looking at her hands too. They’re shaking. “I want to get past this.”
Lucretia’s voice wobbles a little as she says, “Then why haven’t we?”
Why does she stay up late thinking about the tip of an umbrella pointed at her face? Why do the words “You fucking took everything from me!” echo in her brain? Why can’t she think of a kitchen, or a mongoose, or a stone without wanting to cry?
“I dunno,” Taako says, voice quiet.
Lucretia takes a deep breath in and lets a deep breath out. She repeats it a few times, letting those thoughts pass so she can refocus on the question. How do we get past this?
“Let’s talk about it,” she says. She’s talked about an entire decade five times now, but she knows this will be the hardest.
Taako sighs, rubbing a hand over his eyes. “I don’t want to. Not now. Can we talk about something else?”
“Of course. What did you have in mind?”
He opens one eye and cringes at her. “Did you hear what Merle did the other day?”
Oh, how couldn’t she? She nods “That was… wild.”
“Wild? That was borderline illegal!” He slaps his hand onto the arm of his chair and his incredulous expression makes her laugh before she can stop herself.
“He’s insane!” Taako says, voice pitching up in that way that clearly tells how distressed he is.
“Yeah, that was… bad.”
“How did his kids turn out normal, Lucy?” Taako asks in a distressed stage whisper. “He’s so fucking weird.”
“I have no idea,” Lucretia admits.
Her smile comes easily to her in this moment, which hasn’t happened for a while. And with the tentative promise of more in the future, the weight on her shoulders begins to lift.
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“Wait. He actually agreed?”
“Yeah and I really wish he hadn’t.”
Prosciutto is constantly pestered for his senior discount life hack I’d imagine. Finally he agrees and he’s gonna make that everyone else’s problem. Especially the person who asked it. This is what you wanted right? Old Prosciutto for benefits?
Formaggio fights the urge to out him but snitches get stitches. Can’t run because he requested old Pros. And wouldn’t be able to show up to work if he ran-
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