Roulettia: Making the Best Worst City
GMing, especially for a game geared towards consumption by an external audience, often requires a LOT of notes. Combined, my notes for the anticipated 15 episodes of Questionable Measures total up to 53+ pages! And within those pages are a lot of ideas that, for one reason or another (were unnecessary for the story, didn't fit the tone of the show, etc.) were scrapped. While I'm overjoyed with the story our heroes have put together, the adventure we're telling is only one of dozens Roulettia could tell, and I've been wishing there was a way I could set this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad city out into the world for other adventurers to enjoy.
So I'm going to make a module!
The idea for a Roulettia module has been running through my mind since before Questionable Measures started, and the yearly practice of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) gave me the perfect excuse!
My Goal: By the end of the month, write a 5+ page Cypher System module containing everything a GM would need to run an adventure in Roulettia.
What this module is will inevitably vary over the course of this project. On the most basic level, I plan on including a Magic-Kingdom style map, as well as descriptions of alien species, NPCs, and activities specific to Roulettia. However, if time allows, I'd also like to include three pregen character sheets based off of Lorraine's cronies at Questionable Measures (Ashen, Regular Bob, and Mac), as well as a potential one-shot adventure starring these characters. The Roulettia that appears will be almost identical to the one that appears in the Quest Friends! podcast, with the few specific references to Numenera replaced in accordance to the Cypher System Creator guidelines.
Each Friday, I'll write updates about my progress creating the module, plans for the next week, and any thoughts I have about the process. This is my first time really delving into a module (besides spending a few hours on a currently scrapped Turingtown module), so it'll be one heck of a learning experience!
But I'm not going into this with NOTHING. As I mentioned earlier, I have over 50 pages of notes to take from, and I also have the four most dangerous words I can wield: a plan of attack. With a little over four weeks in November, I've separated my writing process into a four-step, four-week plan.
Week 1: Create a spreadsheet with all of my current ideas.
I LOVE spreadsheets. Ever since I learned to code in Excel, spreadsheets have been my first step for organizing ideas. For the Roulettia module, I plan on naming each specific idea, assigning it a category from a pre-defined list (character, descriptor/alien species, location, organization, item, minigame, event/adventure hook), and then listing out both its descriptive and mechanical information. As I'll have to spend a lot of this upcoming week planning the final few episodes of Questionable Measures, a lot of this work will likely bleed into Week 2.
Week 2: Organize these notes in a Google Doc, isolate areas where more details/content are needed, and fill in those blanks.
Once I have everything categorized, it'll be considerably easier to see what categories I have a lot ideas within, and which areas might be a bit lacking. I'll use this information to determine how I want to present information in the actual module, as well as where I might need to add a few ideas (or shave a few off).
Week 3: Rewrite my notes to sound pretty! Write out notes for the one-shot adventure as if I were planning.
My notes are notes. They're simple. They're straightforward. They're effective. But they don't sound nice. Therefore, my third week will be spent clearing up my notes and giving them a Roulettian flare. I'll also work on planning the one-shot adventure, by writing down the same notes I would when planning a session.
Week 4: Enter final flavor text, perform edits, and transform one-shot notes into a module-friendly format.
Once everything is (hopefully) written, the last week will be spent refining what I have (likely based on suggestions made by friends) and adding additional introductory and transition text. I'll also take my notes for the one-shot, remove anything that isn't necessary (since my notes will likely be more thorough than what is needed for a module), and convert them from bullet points into complete sentences.
Post-November: Format the module
Then I'll be done! Kindof. I want to create a functional product by the end of this month, but there's still a lot of formatting to be done before the module is ready for DriveThruRPG. I'll also commission custom art to to add even more life to the document. Once everything is finalized, I'll put the module up for sale sometime in December-February!
My plan is optimistic, to say the least. Right now I'm planning with the hope of including both the module and the one-shot adventure, with the knowledge that, if I fall behind, I can drop the one-shot to allow for more work on the core module.
And that's it! As with all things, I've over-thought this module too much already, but I'm optimistic I'll come up with something worth playing, or, at the very least, shoddy enough to earn its Roulettia name! If you're interested in joining me on this adventure, you can listen to my running thoughts at https://twitter.com/Deckelodeon and my longer updates every Friday at https://www.questfriendspodcast.com/.
But enough typing about the module - it's time to start typing out the module itself!