Pinned Mini-Adventures!

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    • Mini-Adventures!

      Greetings all!

      This thread contains postings that offer individual mini-adventures, essentially "modules" in PDF format, that players and GMs may enjoy running, either individually or as part of a larger campaign within their own game's storyline. We offer these for free, and are even eventually willing to post mini-adventures created by others as long as we have the chance to edit and approve them as necessary before they are posted. Any offered adventures can be sent as editable Word document attachments in a private message to me (Scott Jones) on this forum. All such mini-adventures are intended as free distribution, purely for the enjoyment of our forum members and their players, and are not meant for sale. We will begin with all the mini-adventures we run as demos at the various conventions we attend, and hope to continue adding to these every few months.

      The earliest of these introductory adventures have been designed to use the pre-generated characters presented in the Welcome Booklet. A GM may allow players to use their own characters but would have to either adjust the adventure to fit those characters, or make sure they were still able to fulfill the various roles required by the story (there may have to be a seer, an honor guard, a healer, etc.). Later mini-adventures may be created using entirely different pre-generated characters (or none at all). Adventures using new pre-generated characters should include these characters as part of the post.

      These adventures are intended to introduce players to the world of SHARD, and to expand the fiction of our world for its fans. They're presented as an overview meant to give players a taste of the setting and expose them to some of the central themes and ideas of Dárdünah. These “mini-modules” introduce the players to the culture, travel, magic, and martial arts action of the setting.

      Parts of the following adventures will be presented in italicized green sections. These sections can be read or summarized to the players, although it is recommended that players be allowed to interrupt any such narration to ask questions or even to interact with any NPCs that might be present. The sooner you can get the players interacting and roleplaying the better.

      A Note on Presentation

      These adventures will use some concepts and terms commonly found in screenplays. The different parts of larger adventures would be presented in “acts.” An act is defined as a major section of the adventure. Usually there are three acts: beginning, middle, and end (also be called an “opening,” a “build-up,” and a “climax”). Each act will be further divided into a number of “scenes.” A scene is defined as an encounter that takes place in a specific location with specific characters. Each scene should also have it’s opening, build-up, and climax. Since most of these adventures will be small ones, meant to be played in merely a few hours, they will constitute a single act in most cases (the beginning of the journey), and will include only those scenes used for the opening of the story as a whole.

      Because of the nature of interactive storytelling, it’s important to keep in mind that the scenes presented in each act are not necessarily linear. Since there is no way to predict what players will attempt to do, scenes must remain flexible. GMs should reshuffle, omit, or create as many scenes as they need to conclude the adventure in a satisfactory way. The most important thing is for the players to feel like the stars of the show. Their words must carry the most weight, their actions be the most decisive, and ultimately their efforts should be what drives the adventure’s conclusion.

      And finally, every scene will have a “cast of characters” detailed within that scene. These are the NPCs, creatures, and other beings that will feature prominently in the scene. As with the scenes themselves, GMs should feel free to ignore or create as many NPCs as they need to conclude the scene in a satisfactory way.

      Here are some tips and techniques to use when running a scene:

      1. Every scene should contain drama and advance the story in some way. Even if the scene is intended to allow players a chance to get to know more about NPCs or each other, the scene should ultimately be dramatic and help advance the plot. If the scene bogs down with conversations that don’t really seem to be relevant to the characters or plot, take that time to reveal a clue or introduce a plot event (such as the sudden appearance of an NPC) in order to keep the action moving and maintain interest in the overall story. Encourage players to interact with each other, of course, but monitor those conversations to make sure they don’t devolve into kibitzing (unless you enjoy that sort of thing).

      2. Use the technique of “cutting” to improve the flow of your scenarios. Screenwriters have an adage about scenes: get in late, get out early. Essentially this means that you should “cut to” a new scene in the middle of the action. Don’t waste time having characters walk into a new setting and exchange pleasantries if it serves no purpose. Cut right to a heated argument or a tense interrogation at a point where the players can naturally pick up the scene. Likewise, once an encounter is no longer dramatic, don’t bother to have the characters say their good-byes and shuffle out of the room. Just cut right to the next scene that you feel is most appropriate, again, right in the thick of the drama of that new scene.

      3. Use “intercutting” as another valuable tool. This technique helps keep all the players engaged in the story even when their characters are not present in the scene being played. Think of some of your favorite action movies. They use this technique quite effectively. Let’s say two of your players are engaged in an exciting aerial battle, while another two are engaged in a siege outside a castle’s walls, and a final player is engaged in a deadly duel deep inside the castle’s dungeon (or in the Dream Realm, while performing a magic ritual). Intercutting between all those scenes keeps the action moving for all the players and keeps everyone engaged because they want to see how their scene will be resolved (as opposed to waiting around for another player’s scene to end).

      4. Don’t be afraid to cut away from a scene at an incredibly dramatic moment. This is called a “cliff hanger” and it can be quite effective. As a player duels his mortal enemy in the dungeon, cut away at the moment when his enemy seems to get the upper hand and lunges in for the killing blow! The player will want to throttle you, of course, but that’s a good thing. Cut from that scene to the scene of his comrades (the other players) fighting their way down to the dungeon to aid their friend before he’s skewered by his mortal enemy. This technique can be very effective in creating drama and increasing the players’ enjoyment of the game.

      5. Think of scenes as a series of peaks and valleys. Although the techniques detailed above help create dynamic, entertaining scenes, GMs should be careful to give players a chance to “catch their breaths” from time to time. If the players have just had two or three action-filled scenes in a row, try and give them a scene where they have a chance to talk about the events they’ve experienced and wind down. These “quiet” scenes should still advance the story and feature drama, however. Drama, after all, can be created by conversations between player characters, especially if they’re star-crossed lovers, or professional rivals, or even estranged family members. Scenes featuring such conversations can create some incredibly interesting roleplaying moments. GMs should encourage those moments.

      Above all else, have fun with these mini-adventures, share them with your friends, and feel free to create your own and share them with us as you expand your own campaign.


      Scottie and Aaron ^^
    • The Mine Inspection

      And here we present our first mini-adventure (aside from the one found in the downloadable Welcome Booklet)! Just in time for the holidays!!! Attached as well you'll find a PDF of the six pre-generated characters this adventure originally included, followed by a combat reference page you might want to consider printing out for each player, or including it on the back of each character printout.

      The Mine Inspection has been a favorite of mine to run for demos for over a year now, and has always been a lot of fun for everyone who's had a chance to play it. Filled with intrigue, villainy, and even a bit of a cave-crawl (with monsters and everything!), players have the chance to essentially solve a mystery and put a stop to some nefarious dealings.

      The two things I always found when running this adventure; players seem to love a good mystery, and the three hours I usually took to both explain the rules AND run this little game never seemed to be enough! By the time the players had a chance to share all the juicy tidbits of information their characters know, and then proceed to "sleuth around" to discover more clues (which they always wanted to do), the three hours were almost up and they still had yet to actually get around to inspecting the crystal mine itself!

      Those who may have played this in one of my demos may read this little module and discover loads of things they never got around to doing. Alas, as time began running out, and with players often choosing to jump into magical rituals to discover more hidden truths once they arrived at the site of the adventure itself, I often resorted to using the supernatural realm of the Dream as a place for a final sudden climax to the story. When doing this I introduced the vengeful spirits of the victims of the primary villain of the story, and allowed the players to decide whether to let the villain live or die by their hideous spectral hands! When this special confrontation occurred, the magic-using characters had to deal with those spirits within the Dream Realm, while their warrior companions simultaneously had to confront the physical manifestations of these terrors in the real world!

      Though you will not find this confrontation described in the attached mini-adventure PDF, feel free to include this scene (or any other) if you feel it will help the flow of your own adventures. Now that this little adventure has found its way into your hot little hands, there's no reason to confine the fun to a mere three hours! This scenario could easily become the source of several nights of gaming fun, and could certainly be made to fit into a larger campaign's story arc.

      Enjoy, my friends!

      Happy Holidays!!!

      Scottie ^^
    • Merry Christmas INDEED!

      Hi, Scott! Many thanks for the early Christmas gift! I just finished printing the adventure. What a treat!

      I picked up both Shard and HEX at Origins last summer and was eager to do both at some point. I'm planning to run my first HEX adventure in a couple of weeks.

      I am SO intrigued with Shard's concept and setting, but I'm pretty nervous about getting a game going. I don't tend to write my own RPG adventures, usually relying on published stuff. The lack of scenarios (that I'VE seen, anyway!) for Shard has kept me from pursuing it.

      SO the scenario is quite a welcome sight for me!!! ARE there scenarios on-line that I'm missing (apart from the intro. one on the website)? Additionally, what are the plans for published stuff in the future?

      Thanks so much! Happy Holidays to you!!!
      "Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid." Frank Zappa
    • RE: Merry Christmas INDEED!

      Hey playdead! Hello Incarnate!

      We're so glad you guys like the adventure!

      This adventure (the Mine Inspection), and The Lonely Inn (found in the Welcome Booklet) are the only adventures we've made available so far... But we have two more we've used for demos in the past waiting to be edited a bit, and quite a few little mini-scenarios ideas that we intend to upload in the next several months, so keep a look-out for those... We'll throw you guys notes as when we get them up here...

      This year's gonna be a busy one for us as we try to finish the edits on the upcoming Magic and Martial Arts hardcover book (which will contain 90 new Animal Templates as well), and then move on to the World Guide (which will have a host of around 40 new beasties)...

      Quite exciting!

      Wish us luck!

      Scottie and Aaron ^^
    • The Voracious Pack

      Here we have another short-run adventure!

      The Voracious Pack has always been an adventure I've enjoyed because it lets folks that are new to the SHARD RPG jump right into the action and gets their heart racing from the very beginning! The main reason for this is that the players of this little scenario, after a tiny bit of pre-story and preparation, start off with a harrowing flight to preserve their own lives, and the life of a defenseless young person they are protecting! Great, heroic stuff!

      This adventure uses the same pre-generated characters created for The Mine Inspection mini-adventure (see above) as well as The Lonely Inn (found in the Welcome Booklet), and as a result could be linked together with added fiction to create a larger arc, if you'd like. Though this adventure is meant to take up about three or four hours worth of play time, it could be easily expanded to allow for several adventures to tell the whole tale. Defeating the huge wild beasts chasing them at the start could be merely one task of many, and if the terribly wounded ward can be healed up enough to get him on his feet as an NPC, the entire group could potentially track down the hideous supernatural foe of this story to its very lair! Who knows what hidden horrors they might encounter there...

      We hope you all enjoy!

      Scottie and Aaron ^^
    • The Accursed Well

      Here's yet another short-run adventure for you all!

      I had meant to get it out by Halloween, because of its awesomely spooky and haunting themes, but at least the season's still about right... Here we have an adventure that takes place right at the height of a festival honoring the dead on Dárdünah, known as the Feast of Mürtyu, during which wicked spirits are also driven away by those revelers who walk among the dark places with ritualistic lanterns held high... There are full details within that describe this special Dárdüni holiday, and it is essentially a sneak-peek into one of the many holy celebrations as will be eventually published in our World Guide... In addition, there is a lot of narrative that may help you get a better understanding of what it might be like to view a snapshot of the inner workings of a prominent House and Line in the world.

      What you are seeing here is actually the first adventure I created for the original Welcome Booklet created long ago, fully two years before our game was ever published, the very first time we appeared to demo our game at Dragon's Lair comics and game store here in our local town of Austin...

      This little adventure was designed to last about four or five hours, and could easily be stretched to fill a longer night of adventuring, and certainly added to in order to create a series of great adventures surrounding the foul goings-on described in this scenario... It uses the same familiar characters as offered in the previous adventures we posted, but feel free to create your own, or use your already established characters as a special challenge!


      Scottie and Aaron ^^
    • Updated Demo Characters...

      In the earlier post on this thread introducing the Mine Inspection, I also encluded the six pregenerated characters that can be used in all the Mini-Adventures...

      Recognizing that there were some errors in the listings for the weapons' damage and their ranges for each of the characters, I made all the appropriate changes and re-uploaded them in the original post...

      Feel free to grab them!

      Scottie ^^
    • And now, I'm proud to add this most recent contribution to our mini-adventures, a fantastic little treat called "Marooned"!

      This exceptional adventure was created by our own forum member ReaperWolf!

      In addition to creating the initial draft and basis for the map, Reaperwolf was kind enough not only to provide this for everyone, but cool enough to be willing to collaborate with me on the editing and final layout, in which he allowed me to make a few changes to insure that it fit established (and in some cases unpublished) paradigms, and enabled me to lay it out in the same InDesign format I use for the Basic Compendium and Welcome Booklet (which is the same format I'm also using to create the Magic and Martial Arts book as well as the World Guide)...

      As as added bonus, he gave me permission to adapt his map into the style I used for the large poster-sized World Map that we carry....

      All in all I think it turned out really well, and I want to once again thank ReaperWolf for being willing to share it with all of us!

      At some point he's said he'll be creating some new "Talented Level" pre-generated characters that can be used to demo this adventure, but rest assured that it can be fairly easily tailored to work for almost any group of characters... Once he's done, though, I'll include them along with this posting for your enjoyment!

      Have fun!!!

      Scottie ^^