4e Adventure Checklist

It can be hard to remember all the elements that make up a good 4e game. There are a lot of them to remember, and if you’re running a game every week, it’s easy to miss some of the components that make a game great.

Today we outline a list of components that make a game great. Some of these are necessary. Others are nice little additions. The intent is to help remind you what you might need and what you might want to make your game that much better. Let us begin.

4E Adventure Checklist

  • Adventure outline: Write out the five main sections of your adventure in brief points you can use at the table.
  • Story Seeds: Write out one-line story seeds that will draw your players through and across your adventures.
  • Encounter outlines: What are the basics of each encounter you plan to run?
  • Interesting environments: What can you do to make locales more interesting? What will make your encounter environment fantastic?
  • Scene flavor text: Each scene should have some flavor text. Unless you’re exceptionally good at ad-lib, you might want to write out full readable descriptions of each scene. Read them out loud BEFORE you try to do so at the table to avoid embarrassing errors.
  • Notable NPCs: Write out the name, brief description, background, motivation, and conversational DCs for major NPCs. Don’t introduce too many of them – NPCs can be hard for your players to remember in high numbers.
  • Loot: Spend some time to taylor the loot your party will get. What sorts of things get them excited? What odd things can you put in there to excite them?
  • Maps, terrain, or dungeon tiles: Prepare your maps, dungeon tiles, or encounter terrain.
  • Miniatures or monster tokens: Put each encounter’s worth of minis or tokens into zip-loc bags.
  • Puzzles: Always keep an eye out for interesting puzzles that go beyond a difficulty check.
  • Skill challenges: Spend a good amount of time preparing your skill challenges. Make sure they have enough detail to give players an idea what they’re supposed to do.
  • Physical props: Physical props can really add to a good story. Check out dollar stores and after-season halloween stores for great selections of cheap props.
  • Suitable music or background sound effects: Find some suitable instrumental music or background sound effects to play. Hour long recordings of storms or waves hitting a beach can add a little bit more to a game.
  • Player archetype note cards: Keep a 3×5 card for each player describing what that player wants out of your game and how you’re going to give it to them. Consult your 4e DMG or your Robin’s Laws For Good Game Mastering for details.

You might have other elements to your game that make it something special. Put together your own check list and run through it a few days before you’re planning your next adventure. While you might not check off all of it, you might find an element your game has been missing.


4 Responses to “4e Adventure Checklist”

  1. Jens Alm Says:

    Good list! Especially good as a checklist to see that you haven’t missed anything. One thing I might add is:

    * Plot hooks. Include som plot hooks, either ongoing themes like recurring villains or hooks for future adventures (items, npcs, places or themes that you want to use again and that might inspire you to further adventures)

  2. Mike Shea Says:

    That’s a good one! I can’t believe I forgot it – adding it now.

  3. Ameron Says:

    You’ve already touched on it but I can’t emphasize the importance of having a list of names ready. Of course, you’ve already named the important NPCs, but having a list of names you can use for any NPC the PCs may run into is a good idea.

    If you just describe the NPC as “a guy behind the counter” the PCs will treat him that way. If he’s “Randar, a dwarf with an eye-patch working behind the counter” the PCs are more likely to interact and role-play with him.

    Never under estimate the power of a name.

  4. unan Says:

    great site man, just discovered it.

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