Writing my first Living Forgotten Realms adventure

I’m excited to say that I’ve written my first adventure for Living Forgotten Realms (LFR), which I’ll be running at a local convention here in Denver called Genghis Con in February.

This is a “MyRealms” adventure.  MyRealms is an interesting little program for LFR in which dungeon masters like me can write their own LFR-formatted adventures and run them in public (or in private, I suppose).  The adventure should follow the overall format of a regular LFR module – 2-3 combat encounters and 1-2 skill challenges with certain experience point budgets and treasure amounts, designed to run in a four-hour time slot with a party of 4-6 characters within a certain level band.  With MyRealms adventures you’re free to create pretty much whatever you like, and the connection to the Forgotten Realms doesn’t have to be all that strong.

The one restriction is that you’re not allowed to run anyone else’s MyRealms adventure.  Technically speaking, I won’t be allowed to publish my adventure here on the blog… but I honestly don’t know how much that rule really matters.  I’ll find out, but since I’ve gone through the effort of actually writing this adventure in the LFR format I’d like to share it with the world.

The adventure is called The Staff of Suha.  It’s a distilled version of the adventure that I’m currently running for my friends here in Colorado, which is itself an adaptation of the adventure that I wrote many years ago under D&D 3.0 rules and rediscovered a few months ago.  It’s a pretty straightforward little dungeon delve with a plot that’s basically “Retrieve the MacGuffin.”  For a convention game, that’s enough plot.

Since I had already written the whole thing up in a Word document for my players here in person, it wasn’t too hard to adapt that version of the adventure into an LFR-friendly version.  The biggest change was that my original version was too long.  When all is said and done, we will have probably done 10-12 hours of adventuring to get through my original version, which is far too much for LFR.

I started by getting rid of the backstory.  My in-person players started the adventure in a town where they were contacted by a messenger who works for a wealthy uncle of one of the PCs.  The party had to travel to the uncle’s manor, talk to him about the theft of the titular family heirloom (the Staff of Suha), investigate the theft, and track the bad guys to their lair (with a fight in the forest on the way).  Once they arrived at the stronghold, they had get past the front gate guards, fight some minions, infiltrate an orc barracks, fight through an orc shrine, deal with some orcs training for battle and then fight the big boss (with a few other wrinkles along the way which I won’t write about here because my players haven’t encountered them yet).

For the LFR version, the party starts off as they come in view of the orc stronghold.  I’ll hand-wave the back story: “You’re here to get the MacGuffin, and here’s why.  Go to it!”  Not super-compelling, I’ll admit, but this is just a little delve.

There will be four encounters:

  • Getting into the stronghold
  • A skill challenge to avoid attracting too much attention
  • A battle in a shrine
  • The showdown with the boss

I stripped out two combat encounters and a skill challenge that happened before the stronghold (plus some general role playing), and I stripped out five and a half more combat encounters within the stronghold.  Thus, a 10-12 hour adventure gets down into the 3-4 hour range.

The current version of the file is the “high challenge” version (for level 6-7 characters) and I plan to adapt it for the “low challenge” version (for level 4-5 characters) shortly.  I may also re-write it as a MYRE1-1 adventure for level 1-4 characters, replacing the orcs with goblins.

I’m pretty excited about the idea of running my own game in public.  I like the published LFR adventure well enough, and I always customize them to my taste, but running an adventure that’s completely mine is very appealing to me.  Now I just have to wait until February!

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