Thursday, April 4, 2013

Which Do You Prefer: A "One Sheet" or a Full Adventure?

Or maybe something in between, like a "mini adventure".

I ask these because there seems to be a dearth of OSR adventures when you consider the large number of rulesets available.

Frog God, Expeditious Retreat Press and Goodman Games are the three main publishers of "OSR Adventures", for S&W, OSRIC and the DCC RPG respectively. There are some other players, but those are the main three. All publish fairly detailed adventures.

Are "One-Sheets" and "mini adventures" falling short of what the consumer wants, or is it more profitable to publish full adventures, where you also snag part of the "collector mentality" - folks that buy adventures to read and never play.

I know all about the One Page Dungeon Contest which gets some amazing submissions every year. It's a very successful contest. Why don't we see more of them being sold for a profit, however small?

My favorite resources from the TSR days were the Decks of Encounters and the Book of Lairs - kernels of adventure that were meant to germinate in the mind of the DM and become something larger and better and unique. The closest I can think of to this in the OSR era are the example encounters found with the monster entries in The Tome of Horror Complete and Monstrosities and they happen to be my favorite parts of both monster books.

Maybe I've missed other examples. I'm just curious. Are publishers actually putting the right resources out there for the GMs to actually use, or are the putting stuff out there for folks to collect?

Wait, I thought of an example that fit's what I would ideally see across the spectrum of the OSR: In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer for the DCC RPG - 12 encounters in less that 50 pages. That is value. That is DM brain food. Well, for me anyway.

Where do you fall in the spectrum? One-Sheets, Mini Adventures / Encounters or full blown adventures?


  1. I think my answer is predictable, while I enjoy any good adventure, mega or min, I do overall prefer the mini adventures. Shocking eh? I like the adventures that will last a one or two sessions.

  2. I find the 1-page adventures are often too sparse, and a 50-page adventure too grand. So a short, 2-6 page adventure is just right.

  3. Another vote for the mini adventure...something that lasts a couple of sessions but can be easily expanded on.

  4. Mini Adventure. I like taking what's there and expanding it my own way. I'm currently putting up my own on my blog.

    I do admit I enjoy the one page dungeons now and again.

  5. Another vote for a mini(ish) adventure. I like an adventures that I can quickly master the logic of the moving parts. A few pages detailing the encounters, and a few more fleshing out NPCs, organisations, and key locations. Bullet points over prose, so that motivations, likely actions/responses, relationships etc. are all clear for easy reference.

  6. If I'm running something for my own gaming group, I generally don't have more than a single page, if that.

    If I'm buying something written by someone else, then I want the whole enchilada. I want a largish detailed adventure, whether it's got a detailed plot for the players to unravel or lots of stuff to do in a location-based adventure.

    That said, I rarely actually run adventures I buy.

  7. If I'm paying money for an adventure I want the full banana with maps, handouts, stats, nice illustrations and in colour hopefully. My main game is CoC where ass-kicking campaigns like Masks of Nyarlathotep are two-a-penny so maybe I've been spoiled by that.

    In the old days there were stacks of modules by TSR in my local game shop which are all usable with OSR clones and Goodman, who you mention, have been printing old school adventures since before it was fashionable to like OD&D. I guess the reason there are almost more OSR rulebooks than adventures is that the text of the old TSR modules isn't OGL (I'm assuming) so people can't just copy and paste them and stick a new name on the front like with the rules themselves.

  8. One nice thing about 1 page dungeons is they're easy to litter about your campaign world, giving players things to do. Because they're often so sparse, they are more flexible when you want to make changes, additions or tie-ins to your world.

  9. One-page adventures, and mini-adventures are easy to use with sandbox-games. And I'd rather either read a mini-adventure, or write one myself, than read, prepare and play a long campaign module.

  10. If I'm paying for something I want maps, monster stats, and treasure listed. I do not want to have to look up another book for more info. A lot of the 1 page adventures/encounters only give an overview and little else.

  11. I recently DM'ed a Lords of the Rings Adventure Game (the RPG one) session, using the first pre-made module: Dawn comes early. This adventure is 64 pages longs with maps. It is meant for first timer DM's, so it is very detailed and has even stuff for the DM to read aloud to players. Well, I read it, two times in fact, but as a GM I just memorized the main bits and went freeform. I did have to consult the adventure module for some monster stats and the contents of the trolls' cave during the game, but that was about it.

    So, I do like large modules, but only if I have time to study them and even then I use only a small amount of the content in them. Maps and artwork are always nice.

  12. One of the nicer downloads for BFRPG is called Adventure Anthologies. Its about 80 pages of small adventures lumped into one PDF (and hopefully down the road a print version).

  13. I found the One Page Dungeons worked great in a short Labyrinth Lord sandbox campaign I ran last year; they were great for scattering over a map. They could be expanded out to ca 2-3 pages with a bit more detail.
    For a two-session adventure around 6 pages is good. TSR style 32 page modules are good for epic 4-6 session adventures like Castle Amber.

  14. I think there's room for all of them, but I personally like the mini adventures and one-pagers because they are very quick and easy to drop into the exploratory sandbox style of games I run. Players decide to wander into the Valley of Dreaded Voles but you don't have a clue what's in there? Grab a one-page mini dungeon and give it a home.

  15. I like a short scenarios that I can tailor to suit my game. Too many full adventures assume too much about the setting and style of play to be useful to me without serious reworking, in which case why not just write my own.

  16. One page is too small, but a booklet is too big. What this hobby needs are poster-sized adventures, like the poster maps that came with the old boxed sets.

  17. My ideal format is a few pages introduction, some keyed maps, and an excel-sheet type info-dump for reference(see below).



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