Based on the type of game I've outlined previously, and the basic structure of a Soulsbourne game, our direction becomes apparent. A themed mini-dungeon.We'll call it a region, I guess. String enough of those together and you have a proper Souls adventure. But how do you build one of those basic units? What's in a good mini dungeon-delving adventure? How to capture the feel of exploring the shadows of Anor Londo, or summiting the monumental Castle Lothric and looking over the parapet to all the regions you have conquered so far? Hmm. We'll get there, but here are the basic ingredients (I argue) we should use to make our cake.
2-3 encounters + Boss
- 1 area of knowledge due to a tragic past with that thing: They know about the boss in this region, the next region over, the larger setting component, a certain faction's history or current state
- 1 useful ability the PCs may be interested in: blacksmith, can teach sorceries of some kind, makes potions, will run off and find things for you, will come along as a hireling
- 1 thing they need before they will meet up with the PCs at the base: They are locked in a cage and need a key, they lost their armor, they won't leave without their loved one's wedding band, you must prove your worth to them, you must prove your humanity to them, they need to lay a husk to rest
1+ bit of findable lore
1+ extra passage or additional optional encounter
0+ other NPC (provide information about region, offer a quest, offer aid, become rival, merchant of sorts)
0+ cryptic message left by those who came before
- Take a map from Trilemma Adventures and re-skin as needed
- Have ole' Don Jon do it for you. You only need 10 rooms tops, some of them empty.
- yep two recommendations I guess. You just need a smallish map with some crossing and random connections.
- Place major encounters/scenes including the boss. Preferably make the environment where fights may occur dynamic.
- To fill the rest of the minor spaces, make two lists. Locations (a shrine, sewer passage, ritual chamber, balcony, grand stair case) and the minor encounters (wandering enemies, npcs, scenes which tell a tale). As the PCs enter the next room, pick something off the location list and a minor encounter and boom, there's the room. This randomness will make the area fresh if parts need to be repeated, eases prep, and keeps you surprised.