Attention to the Detail is the Difference

I spent my Saturday working on one of the final maps that will go in my module and I have had a bit of a realization of what makes a professional versus an amateur module presentation.  It has hit me as I sink more and more hours into the adventure and the map.

The difference is attention to detail.  Nothing more mysterious than that.  Let us take a look at the map as a starting point.  I have been practicing my map drawing now for three or four weeks.  I have started the final version of the same map twice and only accepted the one that felt right to me.  Once I was through with the hand drawing (of which took me many hours of painstakingly crafting every line in the right way) I scanned it into the computer.  I then carefully removed all of my hand written text and replaced it with a handwritten font that changed it from looking amateur and made it look so much better.  I then ran it past some people I trust and realised that I missed out on a couple of key features that I will fix tomorrow.

How I started

I have also been looking at a couple of the other maps that are needed and drawn down some ideas.  One of my friends wanted to help out so I have given her one of my cooler building ideas to have a go at while I have roughed out the basic Manor that is key to my module.  I need to do some final preparation work and then get some ink to page.  There are a few other maps that I need to deal with, barrows; limestone caverns; wizard tower; druid circle and a couple of others.  I am nervous when it comes to underground caverns and it is why I am putting some of these off to later.  Looking at works like +matt jackson‘s underground areas I am aiming at his level of brilliance and hope that I will be able to get to it.  The limestone caverns will likely be the last I attempt.

Many hours practicing my mapping

Then I look at the work that I have been putting into the module.  I have a hint for first time module writers that may help you pay attention to those details that you need to.  Get a copy of Realm Works once you have completed your module and then put the details of your module into it.  I will guarantee you that you will feel that your module needs a lot more added to it in the end and that additional material WILL make your module go from an amateur side quest into a full blown professional adventure.  I literally had this module spelled out and written with just maps to add around three weeks ago.  Then I decided to add it to Realm Works so that in the long run when their content store opened they would have my module ready to go.

I have now been working for a while and adding information to practically everything.  The module’s locations and denizens are literally coming alive.  Every new topic, place and character detail that I add to this makes the adventure so much better.  I asked on the blog a week or so ago about history in a module and if I should include it and I have unequivocably got an answer for you now.  Yes.  Keep it, use it and allow it to guide you in the way that you craft the module.  Even if the players only learn 5% of the material that you created it will ensure that your module contains and maintains an internal logic to it.  What that means is though the players may not find out about it, the module will have an internal flow to it that will allow them to make sense of it regardless.

My wife will be happy when these go back
on the shelf!

So, back to the heading.  Detail, detail, detail.  It really is the difference between the amateur and the professional versions of adventure creation.  I fully do not expect this module to pay me for the hours I have put into it but this is the module that I am writing to learn the craft is doing just that.  It is helping me to learn the craft.  I will soon learn some of the shortcuts.  I will get feedback yet on what I over-did and if I under-did anything.  That was the purpose of me writing this module.  I still have my best module ideas to come but I needed to learn first.

If this is something that you are keen to do then know there is a lot of work in it.  I mean to write a few more blogs talking a little more specifically about certain sections that I am excited to include for the module.  It has been a big journey so far getting it to this point and I still have a little way to go!  Until next time, keep rolling!

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