Adventure scenarios are an indispensable part of all role playing games. Gary Gygax’s Insidiae: The Brainstormers Guide to Adventure Writing covers five core . BROOSER’S REVIEW OF GARY GYGAX’S INSIDIAE. This is a review of the fifth volume in the Gygaxian Fantasy Worlds series, the INSIDIAE. Gary Gygax’s Insidiae – Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online .

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As a writing tool, it does sound kind of interesting. As far as a reference book, how does this thing compare? Does garu have an functional index? Is the font easy to read? Is it bound well? Does it sit flat on the table? Oh, it sits flat on the table! Print is small, but legible. Illustrations are black and white, apparently from the public domain.

About Me Brooser Bear Likes to hibernate. View my complete profile. Ostensibly written as a companion to the D20 and the Lejendary Adventure gygwx, this book is abstract enough, to be useful with any RPG system. I am huge fan of the How To writing for DMs. Nothing beats Moldway’s writing on designing a dungeon adventure for its scope and conciseness. This large section, consisting of DMG pp was largely removed from all subsequent editions of the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

Having said that, Gygax’s writing on asventure and setting design expands on greatly, but does not add to Molway’s Awesome writing on the subject.

I am always on the lookout on design writing for the Dungeon Master, and as I am currently in the process of setting the Midlands fantasy world in motion for the second season of my campaign, I have started reading this material once again.

The first book I looked at is the aforementioned Insidiae volume. I was not inclined to like this book. It did not start out with any kind of preamble or introduction, but with a random events table and self-evidernt descriptions of the entries on the table.

I did not like the core process of this book, which has the stated purpose of generating settings and adventures. Insidiwe doesn’t give much in the way of theory or analysis, gyax throws a bunch insldiae tables at you, and then devises a system to govern the rolling on these tables. Book ONE is the Milleu Events – You can assume that the setting for your game is peaceful and stable OR you can roll up randomly to see, what conflict the area had in the past, what is tearing it up in the present and what conflict will be burning in yor area in the future.

Book FOUR is the Plot, this is where the actual text starts and the insiduae does most of his actual writing.

First, Cross describes the differences between writing fiction and writing an RPG game adventure. The key argument is that literary writing mainly concerns the internal motivation and the protagonist’s stream of consciousness and must includes set-backs and inevitable defeat, whereas we do not go into any of this when writing an game adventure. This is true, and Cross writes from a tragedian’s perspective, and the advice not to get inside the protagonist’s head also holds true for those, seeking to avoid writing melodrama and sentimentality.

By gyhax same token, who is to say that good DM should not get into the heads of the major NPC’s in the game? The central idea of this chapter is that DM writes the background material, which becomes a story after players interact with it and move on forward in the adventure. Dan Cross calls is “Story-Latent”.

He tags the DM’s content with it, that insidie lead to further adventuring. He then proceeds to outline the insidiaae of Encounters and their function in the adventrure, with their place along the classic plot line rising action, culmination, falling ection, etc. I can think of a lot more encounter types than those three, and Role Playing can be present insisiae any encounter with NPC’s.


Gary Gygax’s Insidiae: The Brainstormers Guide to Adventure Writing

Story Functions are too, a bit simple – There are Story Hooks that get you into adventure, Obstacles that frustrate the players, and Prospects or Opportunities for treasure and in-game growth of the player characters.

The writing on Plot elements is a bit confusing, but useful. It’s not a bad idea, I just don’t use it, having come up with something better. Basically, Cross’s and Gary’s concept is that Hit Points represent players’ Vitality, but also the ability to minimize the combat damage, psychological resilience, etc, so, in the beginning, while HP are high, the damage is scratches and the chardater is dodging the blows, as the HP decrease and the character becomes more fatigued, demage becomes more serious.

First, you create the random conflicts for your setting, then you select the theme for the adventure, then you choose the milestones in your adventure or campaign, then you pick story goals missions for your players agry accomplish, then you create locations and map them.

At the end of the chapter cross goes on the second tangent, saying that the Dungeon Map need not be literal, but a flowchart for a node based adventure – i.

He then concludes the table for the random generation of location, where the adventure encounters can take place. Appendix A shows a random adventure creation and gives 48 randomly generated adventures. For some reason Appendix B lists the Courts of Law and typical penalties for common offenses. Appendix C lists Gygax’s monetary system for use in medieval fantasy RPG’s and Appendix D consists of gray pages worth of tables for the random human NPC appearance generation, which has tables to describe everything – from the type of the beard to the shape of the buttocks.

The book finishes insiciae an Appendix E, the Sample adventure. The two things that I didn’t like about the books were the lack of actual writing on how to actually come up with the story and characters based on your setting. There was too little text between all of ihsidiae random generators and the description of the results.

What writing there was, tended to be brief, dense and abstract, and I had to think about it for a while before it made sense to me.

That is why NPC’s are the primary focus for the Adventure design. What I didn’t like about the process was that You start with the random turmoils that affect your setting, then you roll up some major NPC’s, figure out their role in the adventure, and only then, flesh them out in game terms and pick a story hook and conflicts that would match them. Leonsford is a Barony immediately East of the Blacklands Barony, the adventuring base for my players. The lead NPC is a fencing instructor, a Krait knight errand, whom the players follow.

He wins a land grant far to the East to establish a fencing school and teach the men at arms, including the ones from Leonsford to better prepare them for the common enemy.

The Barony is more conservative, having maintained closer ties with the cultural Leonian roots of the Baron of Leonsford. From a Player Character’s Backstory: Baron of Leon had a younger wife who begot him the youngest son.

This wife had an affair with the tattoed and mighty Twilight Warrior behind the Baron’s back. The Baron found out, captured his wife and his men at arms accidentally killed the Warrior while trying to take him alive, as ordered.

Gary Gygax’s Insidiae by Gary Gygax (, Game) | eBay

The man, who accidentally killed him, was flogged and punished for the entire day. The Baron had his unfaithful wife burned at the stake as a witch. The older sibs from the previous wife did not like the youngest child. The child thought that the two taciturn priests all dressed insidiad black were going to kill with daggers while riding through the woods in their carriage, escaoe from their grasp and ran off into the woods, eventually becoming a Thief.


I did not like the idea of merely rolling for the past, the present, and the future. In fortune telling there is a Spread called The Gypsy Cross: In the center is the Querent, or the person, whose fortune is being told. Overhead represents the issue that is getting the better of the person, while the Underoot is insidiar issue that the person has gygaz with successfully.

In the past, there was a struggle for power between the Midlander Nobles of Kraitland origin insidiaae the Midland Nobility of Leonian descent. With the help of the Leonian Mother Church, the Kraitlanders were accused of witchcraft and were defeated.

Having established strong religious and cultural ties to Leonia, the Barons of Leonsford have subjugated the frontier culture of Midlands and its tolerance of spellcasters and innovation. This puts the Barons of Leonsford at odds with their neighbors.

Unless something is done, in the not so near future this place will be overrun with the darkness of the Demon Coast. As far as the Midlands Canon gwry concerned, there are three Yygax that are apparent so far from my setting: The roles of the first two are obvious based on their positions. The Halfling’s role is open to interpretation and development.

She is a suspect in one of the adventure hooks that the players may end up following. Some of the most promising and prominent scions of the Blacklands Aristocracy are missing and feared dead.

The tensions are high. Grey and his students will be called upon to find them and rescue them, as necessary. The Missing Children fancied themselves adventurers, rightly or wrongly. What really happened is that they have found previously undiscovered unlooted dungeon, secretly went there on an expedition, and came to some grief.

Gary Gygax’s Insidiae: The Brainstormers Guide to Adventure Writing by Dan Cross

Player will have to conduct an investigation, that may or may not uncover the Halfling Fence and her role in the Missing Childrens Expedition. All I know so far is that she is a dark-haired female Halfling, who seems younger than her years, who gained the trust of the female Missing Children, who introduced her into their circle. Drogserlice the Clubfooted, the Halfling Thief, also known affectionately, as Droggy!!! I conceived of her as a Halfling Madam, but Insidiae suggested that she is a Gypsy fortune teller, part of a close knit family of Halfling Gypsies, who plies her trade from a fortune teller’s wagon, living on the outskirts of Leonsford among the Outlawed.

Droggy wants to be rich and is studying Illusionist magic. Her two passions in life. Her role regarding he playerd will be that of an Ally. Right now she is insignificant and beyond notice by the powers of Leonford, but all this will change, if she ever comes to the attention of the Good Baron of Leonsford and his Priests, and come to teir notice she will.

It will be a horror-themed adventure. Droggy’s description using the Appendix D of the Insidiae: Is this a Halfling girl or a Big Foot? This thing will never gain the trust of a unch of prissy young girls, and Droggy is too low level a character to disguise herself by magic, or be transformed by it.

I am not sure what her depravity will be. It might be from the Twilight or her Witchcraft, or it might be psychosexual, I will have to fary about it. Very strong Lawful Evil, in the sense of a supremely selfish diabolical manipulator. She studies Illusionism to primarily disguise her wealth and to make her escape routes.

Very dense prose, which could have been expanded. Poorly worded typology and an artificially formal structure for the story hooks, etc. Posted by Brooser Bear at Ripper X January 4, at

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