One of my big complaints about standard adventure formats is that the relevant information is too often buried in non-essential information. Yes, I’ll read an adventure through before running it, but once I’m running the game, I need certain information quickly.
To make that information accessible, I’m creating encounter flowcharts. Only the relevant information makes its way onto these pages.
Next question: what’s the relevant information? How much do GMs need, and what can they whip up or recall on their own?
One thing that I’d like to include, but might not fit with the one-page constraint, is quick contests.
A quick contest is a skill, a result to beat, and the outcome of the contest. So if you are running a rock-climbing encounter, a standard description might look like this:
“At this portion of the mountain, PCs make a contest to determine how they negotiate the final climb. On a movement contest 15 or higher, the PCs climb safely. On a 19 or higher, they find a shortcut which allows them to reach the top faster. On a 23 or higher, the PCs find, while taking the shortcut, a nook in the rock that has a bird’s nest, and some jewelry that found its way into the nest as well.”
Or a quick contest might look like this:
Movement 14: climb safely
-——————18: find shortcut
-——————22: discover treasure in nest
The GM could roll these using difficulty bonuses, but a “quick” contest goes faster if the GM implicitly takes half. As the PC contest result gets higher, the PC achieves better results…