Tabletop Role-Playing Games were one of my primary hobbies growing up. Once a week or so, my friends and I would get together in someone’s basement to roll dice, talk in funny voices, and commit imaginary mayhem on imaginary antagonists. I was the only one consistently good to go with an adventure every week, so it usually fell to me to run the game and present a compelling story to my players.
I didn’t mind, though. I loved it. I wrote a little, but it wasn’t anything serious, and coming up with adventures and campaigns was my primary creative output. I also accumulated a number of canned “ready made” rpg adventures, but that was more of a collecting thing… by far I preferred to come up with original scenarios for my friends.
I still play from time to time these days, though I’ll freely admit it’s almost entirely play-by-post games online. It’s hard to get dedicated face-time with people who have careers, families, and other interests competing with their time. My own creative energies these days are poured into my writing, so I no longer have the luxury of spending five days preparing a game for the weekend.
Finding use for those old adventures
These days what I’ll do is take one of the old adventures that I have — either some of the old material I used to run, or one of those ancient published adventure scenarios. Some of these old games are fairly well known, though, and the last thing I want is a player recognizing some aspect of the game, digging out their own copy, and using that to cheat.
So what do I do?
I re-purpose adventure modules for use in new genre
The easy way would just be to rename everything and change background and setting details, but I wouldn’t be satisfied with that. Oh no, not me. And it’s not just that most old games weren’t written for a style of play that I particularly enjoy.
I’ll take a game and render it down to its bare components of plot and character, then rewrite it in a new genre, usually for a new system. That hack n’ slash dungeon crawl becomes a postmodern assault on a drug czar’s compound. It’s a bit more involved than just filing off the serial numbers, but I wouldn’t consider it very intensive as far as creativity goes; it’s just extrapolation and interpretation.
My good stuff, the majority of my effort goes right into my writing, for the benefit of my readers.
This post was originally published on my author site at mcoorlim.com