Plotting a one-shot or adventure can be hard: having great ideas is not enough, you need to string them together into a single plot too! And that’s where Whiteboards comes in—a tool that lets you plan and see your adventure in full. So let’s look at how you can use this feature to plan your next game!
The information on this blog post might be outdated! Check the documentation for the most up-to-date information about this feature.
Using Whiteboards to Plot Your Adventure
Every GM has their own preferences to design an adventure, but at the very least you’ll want to prepare several scenes and NPCs. So, start with that! Use the text tool (or the rectangle tool) and type a single short sentence for your opening scene. From there, start sketching out the rest of scenes. Since this is a one-shot or short adventure, you want to avoid branching paths as much as possible. A basic one-shot structure could look like this:
Need inspiration to design a one-shot? We interviewed Amanda Hamon, senior designer for Dungeons & Dragons, to learn how she does it. Check it out!
So, now we have a basic (but solid) structure for your adventure. It’s time to spruce it up!
1. Sketch rudimentary maps
This could be especially useful if you don’t have a map for a specific scene. Sometimes, knowing where things are is important even if you don’t give your players a battle map. It will help you create more immersive and consistent descriptions! Now, of course, you could go hunt down a map that fits the scene (or make your own), but that means interrupting your adventure design flow! By drawing it directly on the whiteboard, you’ll have a quick reference that you can then expand to a full-sized map when you finish designing the game.
So, either use the pencil tool for freehand drawing or enable the grid to be more precise and do a couple of rough sketches. This is how it might look:
2. Show relationships between NPCs
What is (or will be) the relationship between the main NPCs and your party? And what about the relationship between the NPCs? This might be especially interesting if social interaction is a big part of your game. Start by embedding the character article for the NPC in the whiteboard (using the green plus button). Then, use arrows in different colors to show how friendly a character is to someone else. If social interaction is not that important, you can connect your NPCs to the different scenes to know at a glance who’ll be there to meet the party!
3. Alternative paths to plot your adventure
What if the PCs take a different route? This can be dangerous in a short game like a one-shot. So it’s important to keep it in mind during the adventure design process, too. Look at your plan and see if there are any scenes that the players could derail. For each of these scenes, find a way to put the players back on track and write it down in the whiteboard: it could be an NPC, a ticking clock, or a sudden event.
Want a handy checklist for creating a one-shot? Download this free printable worksheet!
4. Check that everything’s good
Even the best GMs make mistakes—so make sure you check everything before running the game! Re-read your notes, try to find weak points or places where your players could derail the session, and be ready for them. And, of course, prepare any other materials you might need: stat blocks, description read-alouds, additional NPCs… Then, open the Digital Storyteller Screen on World Anvil and get ready to have an amazing game!
Not familiar with World Anvil’s RPG features? Check out this quick guide video to learn more!
Prepare a dungeon with Whiteboards
Dungeons (or any sort of structure the party will explore) are one of the most typical tools for adventure design. They let you easily control the pacing and the directions your players can take. If you are using theater of the mind, using Whiteboards will help you not get lost in your own dungeon! The approach will be similar to the above, but instead of plotting out scenes, you’ll plot out places. I recommend numbering them so you can then quickly reference them in a separate document (like a Plot article) with their full descriptions.
Ready to plan your next adventure? Create a World Anvil account now to use Whiteboards and the Campaign Manager!
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