Adventure Time

It’s Friday and time for a new BEOWULF blog. This time it’s all about adventure… not the adventure (that’s in the future) but a chapter where we set out the themes and process of making an adventure for the Age of Heroes.

We know that lots of folks enjoy running our adventures and strive to provide you with a variety of memorable adventures that can be enjoyed again and again. But we also know that the very best guide to what your Player would enjoy is you. So we wanted to make sure that we gave you the tools to make your own BEOWULF adventures.

This section is broken down into components. Let’s talk about the first one: Preparation and Portent.

Adventures have to begin somewhere. But where? And how? Let’s look at a very traditional answer – a mysterious figure in a public place (usually a tavern or inn) provides a mysterious quest. Sometimes, he or she hires the characters, offering money (and the promise of more) for engaging in the task, other times it is the promise (or hint) of some reward that motivates the Hero.

This works, of course, especially if the Player (or players) enjoy these sort of ‘you all meet in a tavern’ sort of tropes. A group resistant to such good fortune might be better served by receiving direct orders from a patron or supervisor “Ship’s Log 29.2, Star Command has ordered us to investigate the strange readings from a local star…” or stumbling across the aftermath of the enemy themselves.

Our Hero is a travelling sort, like Caine from Kung Fu, and thus cannot be relied upon to always start from a single location, though they might have a home kingdom that they return to from time to time. But sooner or later, adventure awaits on the Whale Road once again.

Each adventure begins with a Portent. The Portent hints at the new adventure and motivates the Hero to seek it out. In practice, it is randomly generated from a set of likely nouns and adjectives. The Player is rewarded by finding connections between the adventure and the Portent and usually manages to work something out (Doomed Waves might be taken literally if the Hero encounters a storm, or more allegorically if they meet a failed sailor).

The Portent always takes the same shape but arises from different sources, depending on our travelling Hero’s location and circumstances. The Hero readies their ship, addressing any necessary bookkeeping, and sets off to find the adventure.

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