Daily Illuminator

April 24, 2024: Easy Encounter Idea: The Hook

Here's a quick tip for anyone who crafts encounters for The Fantasy Trip or GURPS (or any other RPGs, if one could envision such a thing): Come up with a hook.

It sounds easy, but it's trivial to forget . . . or, at least, I tend to forget it. Keep it short, simple, and maybe a little wild. Brainstorm a handful. Then see what sounds interesting or that fits what's already happened in the campaign. Here are some ideas to get you started.

• A fight where gravity is weird.
• A battle on a time limit.
• An encounter where the heroes want to get hit.
• An encounter where the PCs need to protect something breakable.
• An encounter where the PCs need to break something protected.
• A combat on a moving location.
• A situation (possibly combat?) told via flashback.
• A fight where the enemies are in disguise.
• A fight where the heroes are in disguise.
• An encounter that sparks because of a mistaken identity.

I typed those ideas without thinking too hard about them. They may not make much sense on their own (although they're at least readable, because the inimitable Editor Extraordinaire Nikki Vrtis usually hits my writing with a hammer before it goes live). They're certainly not applicable to every encounter in every campaigns. But all you need at any given time is one that sparks something within you: "Hmm . . . The heroes are in disguise? Why would they be in disguise? What if that's an idea proposed by the Commander to infiltrate the hidden base to steal the plans? That could work! Hmm . . ."

Regardless, having a ready stash of easy-to-compose hooks can help you come up with something cool or interesting for the heroes to do, or something at least memorable for the players. And that's what you're looking for!

-- Steven Marsh

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