A map of a coastal area with a shipwreck.

Dungeons & Dragons adventures come in a variety of design styles. The hobby shows a clear progression from “modules” in the early days to more modern “adventures” published for 5E today. But even within each edition, you can find a variety of approaches, especially editions with an open gaming license.

There’s no doubt that adventures written today are more “user-friendly” than in decades past. They’re more accessible and employ better design practices. Adventures need to be functional (written in a way that’s easy to understand and run). But they also need to be fun to read. Big publishers aim to strike a good balance here.

But I’ll be honest, I can’t read them. There’s so much text to explain a setting, scenario, and story and I don’t have the time or patience. So I’ve been toying with design methods for adventure writing that aim to strip out the excess.

My first attempt was Tower of the Barrow Witch. It wasn’t perfect but it was a great step in the right direction. Then I read Halls of the Blood King. The presentation was the next step I was looking for—light, evocative, and accessible. I took that and brought it back to 5E.

A Coastal Encounter is my first attempt at building a light, evocative, and accessible scenario. It gives game masters enough to run a fun scenario but leaves room for them to bring it to life with their unique style.

This encounter is part of a wider adventure I’ll be releasing. But I’d really like to know if this is a style and design you like or want to see more of. I’d appreciate it if you’d email me or Tweet me your thoughts after taking a look (or even running it).

Until then, enjoy a free encounter (VTT maps included)!