It’s always fun to see what Joseph Goodman and his crew at Goodman Games bring to GenCon. They didn’t disappoint this year. Surrounding their booth were old rotating wire-rack displays for paperbacks like you used to find in convenience stores. These were stuffed with old classic sci-fi and fantasy paperbacks from days gone by, many of which had appeared in the Appendix N list of inspirational fiction from the very first D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide.
Making old stuff cool again is central to what Goodman Games does. The cover of their new book, How to Write Adventure Modules that Don’t Suck, certainly plays to theme, looking like an old school notebook with monsters and wizards and hapless adventurers about to get eaten scribbled all over it.
In spite of that cover, and the fact that most of its 25 authors are luminaries from the earliest days of RPGs, the content is new. The writers include Joseph Goodman himself as well as names to conjure by like James M. Ward, Skip Williams, and Anne K. Brown. Each author covers a different topic on the subject, from writing adventures with an eye towards selling to publishers, to engaging all five senses, to balancing challenges against the abilities of players and their characters. The topics move from the basics, like how to structure your adventure, to the more complex, such as challenging the players and their characters without replacing the fun with frustration.
What raises How to Write Adventure Modules that Don’t Suck above the crowd of similar works is that each and every chapter includes or is followed up with an actual example encounter, puzzle, location, or even an entire (if brief) adventure that demonstrates how to use the advice given. This book isn’t navel-gazing theory but chock full of stuff you could drop right into your next gaming session.
How to Write Adventure Modules that Don’t Suck is a 160-page hardback book with black-and-white illustrations (except the end papers which are color). Whether you just need to make a new adventure for your friends or are considering publishing your magnum opus, you’ll find a wealth of useful advice and inspiration in this book. Ask for it at your local Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy®.