I read somewhere that Gary Gygax originally created adventures that consisted of a brief list of rooms and a map (or something like this) – ultimate adventure simplicity. This was really the inspiration early on for the Far Away Land adventures. I wanted small, self-contained little worlds that gave GMs and players the framework for very open scenarios and possibilities. Over the course of the last few months, I think I have lost sight of this original goal. FAL adventures have become fairly large – some more than 15 pages. One adventure was so big it consisted of two parts. That’s crazy and it’s completely the opposite of where I wanted to take these mini-scenarios.
So, I am returning to the original goal of creating tight, short, standalone adventures that are open and flexible. The reason for this is simple (at least from my creative goal/playing standpoint). Short adventures that provide a framework for players and GMs are less complicated by nature. They are easier to get into and easier to run. The GM can read the whole thing in a single sitting, in less than ten minutes. The ideas in a small, compact adventure aren’t meant to tell the GM what to do but rather to give them a creative push to come up with ideas on their own while offering a compass as to the direction to be taken. In fact, small adventures rely more on the imagination of the GM as the GM is required to fill in and make decisions. Basically, the GM becomes part of the design process and as the author, I am putting my faith in the GM that he or she has the ability to do this. I believe GMs do have this ability and if they don’t, it is a skill that can be attained over time. As far as I’m concerned, this is how it should be and that is the crowd I am writing adventures for.
One of the main design points of FAL was to create a game that would feel like games felt when I was 10. The openness and flexibility of the system was meant to be a catalyst/reflection for this type of gaming. Adventures that do the opposite of this negate that openness and therefore, undermine one of the core aspects of FAL.
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