Small Scenarios

Image by Daniel Dociu

I mostly play with busy adults, and we run short sessions – 2 hours at a time. This works great for the most part, but it makes large complex scenarios and adventures difficult to complete coherently (who’s gonna remember all that detail after weeks when only playing 2 hours a week?).

So here’s where my thoughts currently are:

  • The City itself is an adventure site with dangers and problems. While there’s moments of respite, it’s still not easy to accomplish things just because you’re among the civilized.
  • The City is populated by points-of-light locations that offer rewards if obstacles are overcome. Each one of these sites offers a handful of obstacles, possibly following the Three Fight Model – a set of cool fights or obstacles with some loose interlinking.
  • These adventure sites may also be loosely interlinked with each other for larger quests, without a need to juggle too much info between sessions – each site should be able to be tackled in one session.

The overarching idea is that the City itself is the “dungeon”, and each location with it’s obstacles and rewards functions as a room in that dungeon.

Some existing published adventures that would work well for this method are below [to my players: do not read these]. Note that drivethrurpg links are affiliate links.

And there’s many many more. These are just a few that could easily slot into urban environs, perhaps with a bit of color changing (maybe Mount Zorgoth is Zorgoth Tower, the largest spire in the City).

Of course, there are many much larger published adventures that can be cut and divided into smaller scenarios for use like this.

Any good ones I missed?


5 thoughts on “Small Scenarios

  1. I have this same issue—short sessions, only once a month or so—so I appreciate this post and the links. I use a lot of Trilemma maps for one shots, but they’re a bit trickier to work into something ongoing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael Prescott and Joe Banner put out some good stuff to mine for small scenarios. I’m using one now, but I won’t say what because Max is reading 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You might like my Statues adventure, which includes a lot of small vignettes – heists, social adventures, messing around in graveyards, recurring NPCs – which might occur, depending on players’ actions, in a sprawling city similar to 8th Century Constantinople.

    Even if you want to ditch the setting entirely, you might find some of the details worth swiping, adapting, and using for your own table.

    Recently reviewed at The Gauntlet’s Fear of a Black Dragon podcast:

    FOaBD coined a new genre category – “Urban Picaresque” – which they said Statues belongs to along with the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser Lankhmar stories and The Warriors (1979)

    Bryce Lynch’s review at Ten Foot Pole:

    At the very least, you can feel free to look at Statues’ free sample pages and swipe any ideas/get inspired by what you see there:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.